Junior Soldiers complete first overnight exercise

Three weeks after arriving at Harrogate’s Army Foundation College the latest intake of Junior Soldiers have completed their first overnight exercise.

The teenage troops, the youngest soldiers in the British Army, spent the night under canvas during “Exercise First Flight” held at Ellington Banks, near Ripon.

They woke up yesterday morning (Friday 28 January) to a frosty start and had to cook their first meal in the field before cleaning their weapons. The exercise saw them learn a number of basic military skills including lessons on camouflage and concealment as well as hygiene in the field.

They will return to Ripon in two week’s time when they will progress to sentry duties and will be taught how to conduct foot patrols.  By the end of their yearlong course they will encounter more advanced exercises to give them a flavour of current operational environments.

Speaking on the training area, Sergeant Simon Thompson from the College’s 19 Platoon, Burma Company explained:

“This is what most people think the Army is about – this is the basics of soldiering.  We can build on this.”

Junior Soldier Lee Sharman from Barnsley added:

“I thought it would be warmer, but it’s freezing.  Camouflaging was a laugh – I didn’t get caught, but I got wet because I was lying in a marsh.

“Still I’ve enjoyed exercise a lot as it’s something new, a different experience.  I can’t wait for the next one now.”

The Junior Soldiers from Burma Company returned to their base at Uniacke Barracks on Penny Pot Lane last night.

19 Platoon will spend today in the classroom but will be outdoors again on Sunday when they will be helping the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust with the conservation of Spurn Point Nature Reserve in the Humber Estuary.