Page 71

chain of command what we had found via a patrol report that the whole team helped write. There was a captured personnel stand where we encountered hostile forces at a Red Crescent AID post. I was impressed how every member of the patrol stepped up their focus at the times when it mattered most and how morale seemed to increase as we covered the miles. It was not until early morning on the second day that I started to realise that we were indeed going to finish as an eight-man team. I had been so focused on the navigation and the serials that I hadn’t really thought about the finish. As we neared the end I really believed that the guys had done them-

selves and the Regiment very proud. At the finish itself at around 0500, after being on the go for 45 hours non-stop, we were met by several members of the Regiment who had come to see us cross the finish line.

finished strongly just after us (also with a full eight man team). At the awards ceremony we found out that not only had C and D Squadron achieved a Silver Medal each, the patrol from HCMR also achieved a Bronze Medal.

I know I speak for all team members when I say that this was hugely appreciated.

I am enormously proud of what all the teams have achieved. To take volunteers from extremely busy sub-units and to come away with two silver medals and a bronze is a huge indication of the strength and depth of character within the Regiment. These patrol members have shown they have much of what it characterises to be a Trusted Guardian of the Household Cavalry.

Then followed a nerve-wracking wait until the awards were given out at 1300. I was aware we had performed well at each of the stands but I had no idea how we had been judged. We had a catch up with the C Squadron team who had also

Against the Odds: Cambrian Patrol 2016 by Lieutenant W A Mullholland, The Life Guards


he Cambrian Patrol, the British Army’s premier patrols competition, covering 60km over the Brecon Beacons and lasting 48 hours, is a daunting prospect even for the most experienced soldiers. Despite this, HCMR’s enduring ceremonial commitments, and the high number of junior troopers at HCMR, time was found to train and enter a bronze medal winning patrol. Preparations for this year’s Cambrian Patrol started immediately on return from summer leave. Twenty individuals volunteered and after those with other commitments and duties were removed, a squad of ten suitable and available candidates remained. Owing to the ever busy schedule of Knightsbridge, and after a number of inopportune injuries there was no young officer available this year to lead the patrol, so a SNCO was sought. Command was left in the capable and experienced hands of CoH Minter who, keen to mould the team into an effective patrol, set about putting together a full training schedule. Supported by Lt Mulholland, CoH

The HCMR and Brazilian medal winning Cambrian Patrol teams

Minter arranged for subject matter experts from across the Regiment to teach the squad lessons on navigation, first aid, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear warfare (CBRN), section battle drills, artillery targetting, model building, river crossing and weapon recognition amongst other topics. They also focused on physical fitness, getting the squad running around Hyde Park and, in the absence of hills, up the Peninsular Tower stairs! After two weeks in camp the squad, along with a small support team, moved down to Bovington to use the training area and hills close to Lulworth. Lessons continued interspersed with scenarios, replicating what the eight selected patrol members would be faced with during Cambrian Patrol 2016.

The team receiving a model making lesson in Bovington before the patrol

After two weeks in Bovington, a team of eight was selected to form the patrol. A few days of kit checks and final preparations were then completed before they departed for the Brecon Beacons. Five of the eight selected had not been on a combat exercise since their phase two training and all, excluding CoH Minter, were under 21 years. Despite this they were quietly confident.

The team, along with the Brazilian Army team who they were hosting, left London around midnight to make it to the start point for their 0600hrs allotted start time. Straight away their kit was checked, their orders were issued and before long they were off on the patrol. Navigating between checkpoints, they were tested on all the areas they had been studying. As the patrol went on and fatigue set in the tests became harder and greater focus was required but all managed to soldier on. Greeted at one stage by a 75m-wide river, morale ebbed but all the rehearsals and training paid off and they crossed without a hitch. The final test was a section assault on a compound to capture a high value target. Having not slept for 48 hours this was no easy feat. They successfully completed the mission and after a few hours of administration and rest they were heading back to Knightsbridge, each with their heads held high and a bronze medal in hand. Congratulations to CoH Minter (IC), LCpl Penman (2IC), LCpl Annetts, Tpr Barrett, Tpr O’Mara, Tpr Evans, Tpr Chivers and Tpr Jones for their hard work and performance.

■ 69

Household Cavalry Journal 2016  
Household Cavalry Journal 2016