Squadron News 2013

Training and Recruiting

 

This has, by its very nature, been a year of hard graft. Whilst the CO’s directives are simple to understand they are complex to execute. We have had two objectives “Recruit” and “Convert to RWIMIK”. Capt Beattie and WO2 Griffen have headed up the recruiting effort with energy and aplomb.  We have added over 10% to the squadron strength and for the first time in a number of years we have the prospect of four troop leaders by September. The recruiting events come thick and fast. We attend all shapes and sizes from a couple of soldiers handing out flyers at a Notts county football match to a full troop sized team and a two WIMIKS at Armed Forces day, incidentally a fantastic day and the City Of Nottingham did the military proud. We will continue with a punishing recruiting tempo and with it will come a higher profile for the squadron.

 

Conversion to RWIMIK is very complex, given the vehicle is essentially a heavy Land Rover, unnecessarily requiring the ordinary Trooper to complete multiple phases including C Cat HGV license, the WIMIK drivers course, work place training and RODET armoured vehicle escape simulator to name but a few. Sadly gone are the days when you attested one Wednesday and then drove a Fox on the next with your Tp Cpl there to teach you.  However, the SSM organised a superb run of five consecutive weekends which enabled the Squadron to train twenty four WIMIK drivers from three units. This excellent piece of organisation proved that we do not have to keep sending people away for weeks at a time to get this sort of training done. We can do a huge amount in house.  We always did in the past but it is hard to get over the Regular Army’s scepticism.

 

We are well on the way to achieving a full conversion to a RWIMIK light cavalry squadron by the target date of October 2014 and I would like to thank the soldiers and NCOs for their hard work and dogged attitude in qualifying as RWIMIK crews. When the full Squadron rolls out at Camp this year it will be an impressive sight.

Operations

 

It has now been ten years since I deployed to Iraq as part of a substantial number from the Squadron. Whilst the nature of operations and deployment has varied hugely over that time, one thing has remained the same the squadron has met the call for IRs (individual replacements) to back fill regular regiments every time without fail. Once again, we have welcomed five soldiers back from Afghanistan where their performance was superb. Two of them attended the Sun Military awards with a soldier from HQ Sqn who won an award for his actions in an incident in which all three of them were involved. Even though the nature of operations is changing, I have no doubt we will be a permanent fixture in future operations working hand in hand with our regular counterparts in various of areas of the world as yet unknown.

RWIMIK in action

 

The recent decision to increase the size of the reserves has presented a major challenge, not least because it coincided with the introduction of a new outsourced recruiting system which was designed for the regular army with little, if any, attention to the special needs of the TA.  Some improvements have been made but a major challenge remains and recruiting for the reserves overall is behind schedule.

 

Not for the SRY though, which has done what it has always done, which is to get on and do the job, if necessary despite the system, and using the tried and tested methods of  local effort and capitalising on its local brand.  As a result, the Sqn went to Camp in the autumn well up to strength, with its full complement of vehicles and with a trained soldier in very seat.  This was a remarkable achievement in the circumstances and all concerned must be congratulated.

 

This year our Annual Camp (now called ATP) was down at the heart of the RAC at Bovington and Lulworth. I absolutely love being down in “tank country” and although we had, as one periodically has to do, quite a boring courses camp, we made the most of it and between lessons there were opportunities to have a little R and R down by the sea. We were also able to hold an outside memorial service for Cpl James Dunsby (A Sqn) who sadly was one of the three soldiers who died attempting SAS selection in the Brecon Beacons. It was a superb setting down in Lulworth Cove and an excellent service attended by his widow.

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RY (including SRY) in Afghanistan

 

The South Notts Hussars 

 

With the sad disbandment of 307 (SNH) Bty and its transfer to suspended animation, the name South Notts Hussars was under threat. The Hon Colonels have been able to save the name by adding it to our nomenclature. Clearly this will be a challenging period for the OCAs as they try to conduct some kind of coming together. For the soldiers it is much easier: they will be looking at what jobs they would like to in the Reserve forces and, if they wish to join the Royal Yeomanry as Light Cavalry, then they will be most welcome.  

 

The year ahead

 

As we look forward to this year I hope that my next article for the newsletter will announce that we deployed a full RWIMIK light cavalry squadron on ATP. In addition, after a year of rolled-up sleeve hard work, I hope to be able to report the Squadron as having had a lot more fun not just “on the field” but off it as well. If we achieve our target on ATP and also recruit the Squadron up to 100% then the we will have a huge amount to be proud of. We are not there yet but this year has been an excellent start.

         

Maj A D Jenkins

RY_Afghanistan

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