After five successful years in the Grenadier Guards and experiences ranging from service in Afghanistan to guard duties at Buckingham Palace, Army man Steve Rose, of Bournemouth, is back in Civvy Street.
Not that the 24-year-old spent more than a week or so out of uniform.
In common with many ex-Regulars these days, he became a reservist. That meant turning back the clock and linking up again with the unit where he once spent 18 months as a fledgling recruit – C Company, 6 RIFLES, which operates from TA Centres at Poole and Dorchester.
“It wasn’t really what I had in mind when I decided to leave the Grenadiers,” he explained. “But there’s something addictive about Army life and I knew I would miss it.
“Once I can find a new job, the TA will give me the best of both worlds. I’ve particularly enjoyed linking up again with a lot of the guys I knew when I first joined the TA in 2007.”
As one experienced Regular soldier comes back into the fold, 21-year-old Connor Minshall, of Weymouth, is heading in the opposite direction and starting a career in the Regulars with the Parachute Regiment.
Like Steve, the former pupil at the Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester, joined C Company with the idea of experiencing Army life before deciding whether to commit to a full-time service career.
“It’s been hard work at times, but I have got so much out of it, including deployment to Afghanistan with 1 RIFLES and the chance to work alongside the Marines at the Olympic yachting events,” he said.
“The Army taught me to drive in addition to helping me earn a preliminary teaching qualification. And there have been lots of adventure training opportunities, with a trip to Cyprus one of the highlights.”
Now, Connor is off to join the Paras – with demotion from his TA rank of Lance Corporal to Private the least of his concerns!
Under proposals announced in July by The Secretary of State for Defence, the TA is to be renamed the Army Reserve. With £1.8bn investment in better training and better equipment, it is planned to expand to 30,000 trained reservists by 2018.
Enhanced conditions for reservists include the introduction of paid annual leave and pension entitlements during training and operations, plus better access to defence health services and training.
Employers will be given £500 per month per reservist when mobilised, in addition to existing help such as with the cost of advertising for replacements.
C Company is keen to attract new recruits. For more information call 01305 264969 or to find out about opportunities in the TA visit www.army.mod.uk/join/20237.aspx.