Identical twins Kate and Laura Hanna have taken the first step on their military careers at their Pass Off Parade at the Army Foundation College (AFC), Harrogate.
The former Harrogate High School pupils were not alone, they were joined by over 400 fellow soldiers on parade to officially mark the end of their basic training.
The prestigious ceremony has opened the door to their careers in the Royal Armoured Corps.
Kate is joining the Household Cavalry Regiment. She said:
The Household Cavalry appealed because you are trained to operate armoured vehicles and swap between that and ceremonial duties.
I wanted to do armoured, but I found the ceremonial side appealing as well and saw the Household Cavalry did both.
The Household Cavalry is divided into the Household Cavalry Regiment and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
Soldiers in the Household Cavalry are trained to drive and operate armoured vehicles, gathering information about the enemy and carrying out attacks. They also spend time in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment which is the ceremonial regiment. It conducts state ceremonial occasions and performs the daily duty of providing The King’s Life Guard at Horse Guards.
Laura who wants to be a commander of her own vehicle is joining the Light Dragoons. They use Jackal 2 fighting vehicles and prepare the way for the rest of the force. Out in front they carry out many different roles, from scouting for information to engaging enemy targets.
We’ve always been close and had the same friends. Kate and I were in different Company’s, so we didn’t live together but it’s been good having her here. We were able to catch up in the evenings.
I took part in cross country and represented the AFC at an athletics competition. We were female overall unit winners, and our team took 1st place in the 4×400 meters winners, and I came first in the Long Jump.
It was a proud moment not just for the Harrogate twins, but for their family as well. The twins follow in the footsteps of their father who served in the Light Dragoons before transferring to the Royal Army Physical Training Corps. Their older brother Benjamin currently serves with the Light Dragoons.
Father Paul Hanna, who has retired from the Army and now works at the AFC said:
At first, I was a bit shocked that they had decided to join. We then discussed the options available and career paths best suited for them. I just guided them from there.
I’m very proud of them and my son, achieving what they have achieved. It is just fantastic. They are just amazing all of them.
Everyone says you get a proud dad moment, I think this was mine. They did themselves proud.
Brother Benjamin (20) attended AFC Harrogate in 2020 and remembers it well. He said:
It was hard work, but you don’t expect it to be easy.
It was great to be together as a family to watch Kate and Laura. Our Aunt (Gemma) was also there to watch the parade. I am proud of them both and I really enjoyed seeing them on parade. I know how hard they’ve worked.
I am enjoying being in the Light Dragoons. It was the right decision for me. I am looking forward to hearing what my sisters get up to.
The prestigious ceremony is the culmination of months of intensive training, nurturing and education that is tailored exclusively to junior soldiers.
Their final exercise is an intense, seven-day battle camp encompassing all they have learnt during their time at AFC Harrogate. The 17 and 18-year-olds will now go on to complete their trade training before joining regiments across the UK.
Their training has included leadership development, The Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, sport, adventurous training, and education.
The college runs two courses, a 49-week long course and a shorter 23-week course.
The 49-week course, is for Junior Soldiers joining the Infantry, Armoured Corps, Royal Artillery, Household Cavalry and Royal Logistic Corps.
The 23-week course is for other cap badges including the Army Medical Corps Royal Engineers and Royal Corps of Army Music.