Bristol-based Army Reservist, Staff Sergeant Mark Wilson, will swap his civilian gear for a military uniform when he heads for work on Wednesday (25 June) to celebrate the sixth annual Uniform to Work Day.
Mark, aged 52, of 266 (Gloucestershire Volunteer Artillery) Battery, 104 Regiment, Royal Artillery, is proud to be among thousands of Reservists from around the country to mark an occasion which highlights the important role that seemingly ordinary citizens can make to the Armed Forces.
He has worked for Bristol Water as a plant technician for the past ten years but, before that, completed 22 years as a Regular with 29 Commando, seeing service in Iraq, Bosnia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
“My main priority after leaving the Regular Army was to get a job and I had no thoughts of joining what was then the Territorial Army,” he admits. “Then, six years ago, I bumped into an Army colleague who explained that there was an Artillery unit in Bristol – and that was it.
“Once you have been in the Army, you miss the miss the special way of life. Now I can enjoy it on a part-time basis, which suits me perfectly.”
Mark lives at Glastonbury with wife Sharon and children Ella-Mai, aged 17, and 12-year-old Louis. 266 Battery, the only reserve Royal Artillery unit in the South West, is based at the historic Artillery Grounds, Whiteladies Road. It has a key role these days which includes operating the hand-launched, battery-powered Desert Hawk III, which provides battlefield troops with an ‘eye in the sky’.
Martyn Bowden, Bristol Water HR service delivery manager, said: “Bristol Water recognises that many of the skills that Reservists gain during their training are transferable to the workplace.
“As a company, we acknowledge that supporting Reservists can enhance the reputation and image of our organisation as well as encouraging staff development, improving individuals’ leadership and teamwork skills. And it encourages potential recruits who already Reservists – and who may have desirable skills – to apply for jobs within the organisation.
Martyn added: “Mark Wilson, from our production department, is a successful, longstanding member of the Army Reserves and we are keen to ensure we support him as a part-time soldier as well as a valuable Bristol Water employee.”
Uniform to Work Day is part of a week-long series of events building up to Armed Forces Day on Saturday, 28 June. Reservists make a significant contribution to the nation’s security, at home and overseas, and their skills can also have a valuable role in their civilian job.
Around 30,000 people across the UK give up their time to be part of the Armed Forces Reserves, and Reservists have been deployed more than 25,000 times since 2003 on operations around the globe.
Many of the Reservists taking part have served on operational tours and have a wealth of skills and experience from civilian life that they bring to their roles in the Armed Forces.
For more information about 266 Battery call 0117 9738392 or to find out about opportunities in the Army Reserve visit www.army.mod.uk/join/20237.aspx .