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British Army launches Reserve recruitment drive on the Isle of Man

The British Army is holding a recruitment drive across the Isle of Man from 25th July to 1st August to demonstrate the wide variety of paid opportunities to people seeking a challenge, adventure or training in their spare-time.

Members of the Isle of Man Army Reserve will be in Castletown, Port Erin, Ramsey, Peel, Onchan and Douglas on the 26th and 27th July to talk to the public about the opportunities available in the Army Reserve. A drill night will be held on the 27th July from 19:30-21:00 at the Army Reserve Centre in Lord Street Douglas where people interested in finding out more can come along and speak to local soldiers. The week-long recruitment drive will conclude with a display by the Red Devils on 31 July at 19:00 at the war memorial in Douglas. Seven different Army Reserve units/corps will be involved, including the 4th Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, 4th Battalion the Parachute Regiment, 103 Regiment Royal Artillery, 146 Royal Logistics Corps, 6 Armyrats © Military Intelligence Battalion, 3 Medical Regiment and 75 Engineer Regiment. Major General John Crackett, Director Reserves, said: Too many young people aren t considering the Army Reserve because of false preconceptions: from thinking they don t have enough time to be a reservist to believing that they will have to join for a long time and it s difficult to leave when the reverse is true.

The Army Reserve should be a top choice for all those wanting to make the most of their spare time. This event in Mansfield will help encourage young people to have open and honest conversations with current Reservists about their experiences, discuss any reservations and consider all that The Army Reserve has to offer.

Staff Sergeant Ian Openshaw, 156 Regiment the Royal Logistic Corps, from Douglas, will be taking part in the week-long recruitment drive. He said: I have been in the Army Reserves for 20 years now and I have loved every minute of it. The Reserves has allowed me to travel the world, on both training exercises and operations, where I have made friends for life. The Reserves offers something for everyone, it is an amazing experience.

The recruitment surge is being held to support the British Army s new Reserve recruitment campaign – A Better You – after it was identified that over two thirds of 18-35 year olds felt that the amount of personal sacrifice, of which time is a major factor, was too high.1 With a time commitment from just 19 days a year, much of which is made up of short training evenings during the week, becoming an Army Reservist isn t the big time commitment some may initially imagine and the rewards are huge.

Did you know, as an Army Reserve soldier:

You have opportunities to travel overseas on exercises, sport and peacekeeping, from training in Kenya to supporting the UN in Cyprus.
You can take up adventurous training from mountaineering in the Himalayas, to sky-diving in Florida
You can earn an annual tax free bonus of up to 1,725 and could be eligible for a joining bonus of up to 2,300
You will get paid for all the time that you spend training and your daily pay goes up every year and with each promotion
You will be entitled to a non-contributory pension
You will get one day of paid holiday for every 10 days in training
You only need to commit to 19 days per year for national units and 27 days for regional units
There are over 200 different roles on offer in the Army Reserve such as musicians, carpenters, chaplains, teachers, HR specialists, engineers, vets and dog handlers
You can now gain an apprenticeship as an Army Reserve and the Army might even pay for you to get your LGV driving license, or to gain qualifications such as, City & Guilds qualifications

For more information about becoming an Army reservist, search Army Reserve.

ENDS

Sir Tony Cunningham – Times & Star

Former Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham has described how he reluctantly voted for Britain to go to war with Iraq.

Sir Tony Cunningham - Times & Star Sir Tony Cunningham - Times & Star

Following this week’s publication of the long-awaited Chilcot report, Sir Tony said he was persuaded there was a real and imminent threat to the UK before he voted in favour of war. The war went on to cost the lives of 179 British service personnel, including 28-year-old Workington soldier Danny Wilson. Kingsman Wilson, of the 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, died after being shot in Basra in April 2007.

Described by colleagues as selfless, committed and with the potential to become an officer in the future, Kingsman Wilson was married to Tracey and had a young son, Leo. Sir Tony, who stood down as MP last year after 14 years, said: “The vote was not a decision I took lightly at the time.

“If we knew then what we know now, would I have voted the same way?

“Quite simply, if we knew then that there wasn’t an immediate threat, there wouldn’t have been a vote.

“It’s complicated and hindsight is a wonderful thing.”

Sir Tony had spent 12 months as chief executive of Indict, investigating Saddam Hussein’s war crimes, before becoming an MP. He said: “I had knowledge of the atrocities he committed. We were gathering evidence against him.

“He used chemical weapons. He bombed Kurdish women and children. He was, quite frankly, a monster.

“I was persuaded that he posed an immediate threat.

“If there wasn’t that immediate threat, I probably would have voted the other way, like I did during the vote to bomb Syria.”

A former Territorial Army soldier from Seaton has spoken out about the report. Ashley Bowmer, then a private in the TA, was an escort driver for the media for the invasion of Iraq and served in 2004-5 as an infantryman with the Welsh Guards. Ashley, 33, went on to serve in Afghanistan as a lance corporal before leaving the TA in 2010 when his daughter was born. He said: The report has taken too long and cost too much to be of any worth.

I don t understand how it will actually change anything for the future.

We already knew it was a poorly planned and under- resourced invasion.

Sir John Chilcot’s report spelled out some scathing criticism of the UK’s controversial war in Iraq. It said the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before “peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted” and “Armyrats © military action at that time was not a last resort”. It added that Saddam Hussein had posed no immediate threat.

In July 2002, it said, Prime Minister Tony Blair told US President George Bush: “I will be with you whatever.”

The report said the UK’s decision to act despite no second UN resolution backing Armyrats © military action in March 2003 had the effect of “undermining the Security Council’s authority”. Tony Blair’s September 2002 Commons statement and dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction made judgements that “were presented with a certainty that was not justified”, it added. It concluded that the Labour Government’s policy on Iraq was made on the basis of “flawed intelligence and assessments” that should have been challenged.

The consequences of the invasion were “under-estimated”, and post-conflict planning was “wholly inadequate”, it said. The report added that the Ministry of Defence was slow to respond to the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices to troops. Delays in providing better-protected patrol vehicles “should not have been tolerated”, it said.

British Army trains in Belize for jungle warfare

British Army troops from The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment are training in Belize as part of Exercise ‘Mayan Warrior.’

British and Belize Defense Force (BDF) instructors are teaching jungle warfare techniques to soldiers from the visiting regiment’s Blenheim Company, 2nd Battalion.

The UK’s operates the British Army Training and Support Unit Belize (BATSUB), which London closed in 2011 but partially re-opened in 2015.

COMMENT

The timing of the exercise is curious given an April border incident between Belize and Guatemala. Even after achieving its independence in 1981, Belize has continued to rely on the British Armyrats © military to deter Guatemala over a contested border.

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