Army Reservist swaps hard hat for blue beret


6 Rifles Op Tosca UN headdress parade

British Army Reservist and Cornish construction company boss Jimmy Regan has been happy to leave the family in charge during his deployment with 6th Battalion The Rifles (6 RIFLES), the British Army’s Reserve Infantry Battalion in the South West as they deploy on their United Nations (UN) peacekeeping duties in Cyprus.

As a self-motivated owner-manager of a small business in Redruth, Lance Corporal Regan is typical of many reservists in Cornwall, where there are few big employers outside the public sector.

That brings its own pressures, never more so than during the Covid-19 lockdown when he had to furlough his staff.

But he is confident that his dad and his brothers can manage the business while he is away on Operation TOSCA, the British contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.

He said:

“Did I have any doubts about deploying? Not really. It’s something I really wanted to do.

“It’s a family business and they’re supportive. They know it’s not going to be easy, but all the systems are in place, so it is manageable.”

Until the Battalion’s demobilisation in March it will be the United Nations that benefits from the 35-year-old’s transferable managerial skills.

Jimmy said:

“Running my own business means managing my blokes day to day, dealing with their issues at work to make sure the company runs smoothly. This is very similar to what I find myself doing here, but obviously in a military setting rather than construction.

“Already I know this tour will give me a different perspective on management, working in a high-pressure environment with new people, which will benefit me when I return to my civilian career in April 2021.”

Pre-deployment training began on Dartmoor in early August and, after 10 days’ leave, was completed at the Nesscliffe Training Area in Shropshire.

Jimmy added:

“All the training has been interesting – and challenging as well, because a lot of the peacekeeping skills are new to us.

“I’m very much looking forward to swapping my hard hat for the blue beret of the UN Peacekeeping Force.”

Reserve Forces