Two teams of Territorial Army reservists from Bath have proved they are made of tough stuff by completing a 40-mile yomp.
Teams from the unit have just returned from the Lake District where they excelled in the Royal Signals Corps’ annual Lanyard Trophy, a 40-mile yomp for Regulars and Reservists over rough terrain carrying full gear – 40lbs for men, 25lbs for women.
To their delight, an over-35s men’s team defied 18 hours of blisters, cramp and fatigue to become the first TA veterans in the event’s history to complete the course.
The girls made it too, setting off at 5am and relying on torches and compass to get them home just three minutes before the midnight deadline.
Their leader, Captain Shelly Atkins, said: “I’m so proud of them. I have taken part in this competition on three previous occasions, so knew what to expect. But it was new for the others and they really gave it their all, showing tremendous stamina.
“Thanks to our support team, we were able to overcome a couple of injuries. One of the girls was rather badly blistered, but she was treated, took some pills and was just determined to get it done.”
Lance Cpl Sarah Richards added: “We started together and finished together, which was what we intended. There were times when it was very tough and there was occasional ‘encouragement’ to pull our socks up! But thanks to our admin team, plenty of food and lots of singing, we made it.”
Others to complete the marathon included Lance Cpl Paul Jefferies, a local council systems analyst, and his 19-year-old student son Martyn, who hopes the experience he is gaining with 21 Signal Regiment will help secure him a Regular Army career. All those taking part received certificates at a ceremony at Bath TA Centre.
Staff Sgt Mike Ives, a health, safety and quality manager and one of the veterans, insisted that he enjoyed the experience – despite losing two toenails! “The biggest challenge was actually the last mile and a half, when it was dark and we had to negotiate a hard, metal road and stony track,” he said.
Pictured (left to right, back row) are veterans team members Cpls Stuart Green and Chris Jones, Staff Sgt Mike Ives and Lance Cpl Paul Jefferies. Front: Signaller Rebecca Pierce, Capt Shelly Atkins and Lance Cpl Sarah Richards.
Under the new Reserve Army Structure announced on 3 July, training at Bath TA Centre will continue much as before. However, 43 Signal Squadron will operate under 39 Signal Regiment and will expand to include a detachment in Bristol. The Forward Air Control Troop which, like 43 Signal Squadron, currently reports to 21 Signal Regiment will become part of the Royal Artillery as a Tactical Air Control Battery. The other unit sharing the TA Centre in Upper Bristol Road, 131 Independent Commando Engineer Squadron, will become part of 32 Engineer Regiment.
All these changes, along with a change of name for the Territorial Army to become the Army Reserve, are scheduled to be completed by December 2016.
For more information about 21 Signal Regiment, call 01225 427747 or email 21SRAS-43-PSAO@mod.uk. To find out about opportunities in the TA visit www.army.mod.uk/join/20237.aspx and for advice on any aspect of employing Reservists visit www.sabre.mod.uk.
For more information on this press release, contact Kevin Coughlan on 07966 399 121 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.