TWO Territorial Army (TA) recruits from Bearsden had the summer of a lifetime by taking part in an intensive five-week basic training course.
Tom Smith (18) and Shaun Harper (19) were two of 150 new recruits at the exercise at Redford Cavalry Barracks in Edinburgh, with further training on nearby Castlelaw Ranges in the Pentland Hills.
Upon finishing the challenge, the recruits celebrated their success by participating in a Passing Out parade at Redford Barracks, also in the capital.
They were put through their paces with a full-on five-week training syllabus encompassing weapons training, fitness, drill, navigation and more. They also completed a one-week adventurous training package in Aviemore, designed to encourage team building and to push recruits out of their civilian comfort zones.
This phase included rock-climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, and hill walking. Not only did the pair gain new skills and make new friends, they also received £1200 for completing the course.
Former Bearsden Academy pupil Tom will shortly join 6 Scots, which has its headquarters in Maryhill, as a Rifleman.
He said: “I signed up to the TA Summer Challenge to find out whether the Army life is for me. We did so many different activities, it was great. My favourite aspect was the bayonet training.”
Shaun, who is employed as a youth worker and is also joining 6 Scots, said: “I like the lifestyle the Army provides. You get to learn new skills and really have the chance to build a career for yourself. I’ll soon be progressing to Phase 2 training, for which I’ll have to go to Catterick and I really want to move up through the ranks and go on tour as soon as possible.”
Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Platt, Commanding Officer of 6 Scots, said: “Five weeks is precious little time to turn a civilian into a trained TA soldier; the pace is inevitably fast and consequently challenging for both recruits and their instructors.
“TA personnel have a vital role in supporting operations and this training provides the foundation for them.”