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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



16 March 2015

The North Irish Horse Light Cavalry Squadron of the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry Regiment have recently had plans approved to grow their Squadron, due to the successful appeal of the Light Cavalry R-WMIK (Weapon mounted installation kit) based Land Rover role.  The recruitment efforts since June 2013 now warrant this specialised role being offered outside of the traditional recruitment areas and will see the Squadron establishing a Support Troop in Coleraine, in the existing Army Reserve Centre.

Major Mark Gannon, Squadron Leader of the North Irish Horse Squadron stated ‘Our home has always been in Belfast; it will continue to be for the long-term and we continue to grow the Recce Troops in Dunmore Park as well.  With expansion happening in Coleraine we will now be returning to the other spiritual home in the North and North-West, where the North Irish Horse has historical links.’  Major Gannon added ‘The success and the appeal of the Light Cavalry role is why we are expanding this Squadron.  We recruit across all of the Northern Ireland dynamics and I am fortunate to work in an organisation that makes a fantastic part-time job offer.  We hold an immensely impressive standard of kit and equipment that is not readily available in other areas of military service.’ 

When asked on the type of character that would be suited to the Army Reserve, Major Gannon commented, ‘I was once a young man looking for challenges, travel, a good standard of training and an environment where you knew you could make a difference and fuse some lasting friendships.  The fact that this is all offered in the Army Reserve and that we are well-paid should make it appealing to anyone who can be available one weekend per month and one training night per week.’  

One of the younger members of the North Irish Horse, Trooper James McKee from North Belfast said, ‘I leave work on a Friday, collect the kit I have been issued and end up cross-country driving or shooting a range of automatic weapons. There isn’t anything more satisfying when you are doing this as part of a trained team.’

Trooper Chris Strong (pictured below), works for a courier and delivery company in his mainstream employment.  He has been in the Army Reserve, working weekends and one training night on a Tuesday for eighteen months.  This means Trooper Strong has been paid to complete his C-license, giving a HGV qualification that can be used for his civilian work.  Trooper Strong also completed the R-WMIK cross-country driver training course in two weekends of training in Yorkshire and is now a fully trained Light Cavalry tactical driver.  Trooper Strong commented ‘This vehicle goes anywhere, I had it at the top of ridges and the bottom of valleys and going through rivers.  If you like driving, you will love piloting the R-WMIK.’  He added ‘The Light Cavalry is the only place to get this experience and you’ll come away having been paid to do what you’ll get a rush doing.’

Corporal Jamie Speers is a junior R-WMIK Commander with four years of experience, he works as a Chef in his civilian job, but then commands an R-WMIK and his crew at weekends.  Corporal Speers, an operationally experienced soldier with tours of Iraq & Afghanistan said ‘I lead my crew and provide the tactical awareness and analysis of what the enemy is doing to help build the battle picture.  I have qualified in all of the crew skills before gaining promotion and becoming a Light Cavalry R-WMIK Commander.’  When asked what other opportunities exist, Corporal Speers commented, ‘I have been to France on an eight day paid skiing course, I have travelled to Belgium for a First World War Battlefield tour and have been fitter and more focused than ever.’  Corporal Speers continued, ‘I go on to become a Battlefield Casualty and Navigation Instructor over the next twelve months and will get GCSE equivalent qualifications for these Army courses.’


The Army Reserve:
You can work a minimum of 40 days of the year over weekends and one evening to be trained to a professional standard.
There are temporary full-time opportunities that will allow work up to 4 days of the week, if suitably qualified
You get paid for every day you work.  These are called MTDs – Man Training Days and are paid between £45 - £120 depending on qualifications and experience.
You receive paid holiday credits – one day of additional pay for every 10 days you work.
There is medical and dental cover provided along with pensionable service.
Training qualifications can be converted into civilian qualifications and often enable Troopers to get civilian jobs as a  result.
Training will take place in Northern Ireland, usually Magilligan Training Centre, also frequently in Scotland and occasionally overseas in Europe.

The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY) Light Cavalry Regiment:
This Regiment came into existence on 1st July 2014 with a new role involving the R-WMIK (Revised, weapon mounted installation kit) Land Rover.
The areas that the SNIY recruit from are broadly, Greater Belfast, Coleraine and the surrounding towns and North Antrim.
The Northern Irish Squadron of the SNIY is the North Irish Horse, located in Dunmore Park, Belfast and Bushmills Road, Coleraine.
The term ‘Regiment’ refers to four Squadrons wearing the same identity all Commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel.
Each Squadron in the SNIY has its own distinctive identity and has manning of between 75 – 90 Officers and Soldiers in each Squadron.
Each Squadron will have four Reconnaissance Troops, sometimes referred to as Sabre Troops.  There are other jobs as Clerks, Chefs and other support roles that make-up the full Squadron. 
Each Troops is manned with one Officer and eleven Soldiers, all of whom will have training for particular jobs (Commander, Driver, Gunner).
Belfast is the Squadron Headquarters (SHQ) with the Reconnaissance role with Coleraine Troop being Support Troop. 
The Support Troop role specialises in Javelin Missile command and launch, route clearance, route denial patrolling and sharpshooter marksmanship.
In the Recce Troop role you will be trained and specialise in cross-country tactical driving, using a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and a Browning 0.5cal Heavy Machine Gun (HMG).  

If you are interested in joining the Light Cavalry you can find the North Irish Horse at either Dunmore Park Army Reserve Centre, Belfast BT15 3FR or in Coleraine Army Reserve Centre, BT52 2AA.  Tel No. 02892260319 to make an appointment to visit or log-on to: to stay up to date on what the North Irish Horse training involves.