My Time in the Household Cavalry by Trooper C Gammon, The Life Guards
have been a regular soldier since August 2013 and a member of the Household Cavalry Regiment since May 2015. Beforehand I had been in the Reserves, and had some operational experience. In the time since I have joined the Regiment I have deployed on several exercises and have taken part in many other trips and courses.
CT1 and 2 in September of 2015. CT1 and 2 are exercises at squadron level practicing all of the drills we need as mounted recce soldiers. Once again I was in the SQMC department and did many rolling replens and dead letterboxes. I also spent a few days as OPFOR in which I faced my own squadron and was told not to make it easy for them.
The first thing I did in the Regiment was the annual gunnery camp in Castlemartin in June 2016; gun camp is an annual exercise in which the Regiment deploys to Castlemartin ranges in Pembrokeshire to practice 30mm gunnery and dismounted ranges. My role was as a Trooper in the SQMC dept; I helped with the running of the ranges and in looking after the administrative needs of the squadron. A more unusual trip in June saw the Squadron go to Belgium to help commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. As well as a battlefield tour and taking part in the Belgian National Day parade in front of the King himself; there was also the opportunity to sample the culture of Brussels, namely the local lagers, which were enjoyed by all.
Not all exercises in the HCR are muddy and wet; in February this year we deployed to Warminster to conduct virtual training in the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer - CATT. This involves the entire Regiment simultaneously playing through scenarios in what is essentially a huge computer game. We went through a scenario each day for two weeks which went well but got progressively harder as the Comd Offr killed off certain callsigns or jammed our comms to make it harder for the remainder of us. It was a valuable experience for all ranks and I learnt a great deal about how an armoured battle group moves and how as a driver I can aid my commander in my route selection.
After summer leave the Squadron deployed to Salisbury Plain to conduct
Op TRACTABLE in March of 2016 was another unique exercise. It involved the entire Brigade deploying to Salisbury Plain to test our readiness. After several
days we moved as a squadron to South Cerney to practice the mounting procedure for deploying on aircraft; this involved working with members of the RAF who weren’t accustomed to working with armoured vehicles and needed help telling them apart. Owing to injury, I had the opportunity to attend a Lower Limbs Course in Aldershot. The course at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre was three weeks long and seemed at first sight to be just PT. But going on it was a great experience and I’d recommend it to anyone else who becomes injured; the staff are knowledgeable and understanding, and equip you with a great deal of knowledge for when you are sent back to your unit to continue your recovery. Working in the HCR isn’t all exercises; there are also lengthy periods of maintenance which is needed to keep the ageing fleet of vehicles in fighting order. There’s also training for tasks like Op TEMPERER, a way to aid the police in the event of a terrorist attack. Life in the Regiment is varied and rewarding; with many different opportunities to break up the routine of maintenance and exercises.
Exercise IRON GRAPPLE - D Squadron Fitter Section by Staff Sergeant (Art Elec) M G Slater BSc
took command of D Squadron fitter section in July of this year and after a brief handover-takeover, it was straight into preparation for the Squadron’s upcoming CT1/2 exercise on Salisbury Plain. The fitter section compromises nine tradesmen including: an Artificer, five Vehicle Mechanics, a Recovery Mechanic, an Electronics Technician, and an Armourer. The manpower is spread between two Spartans (C/S 24A, 24B) and a Samson recovery variant (24C).
to practise its tactics and SOP’s for the following weeks CT 2 exercise. During the first week the fitter section was able to hone our camouflage and concealment skills in order for us to blend in with the rest of SHQ; and most impor-
tantly learn to move more tactically on the ground. The majority of faults encountered were generator and fuel line faults, the latter proving to be a major bone of contention
With many a busy day on the tank park behind us, the Squadron successfully managed to prepare 23 CVR(T)’s, 2 MAN SV and a solitary Land Rover for the journey to DD gate. After some imaginative packing of toolboxes and spares we crammed into our vehicles awaiting our first casualty of the exercise. The initial move from DD gate onto SPTA surprisingly passed without incident and we managed to get all of the vehicles into the Squadron leaguer without a breakdown. CT 1 consisted of a series of low level serials (skilfully co-ordinated by Capt Vaughan) which allowed the Squadron
20 ■ Household Cavalry Regiment
D Squadron’s Fitter Section on CT 2