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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



23 June 2016

It has been a busy time for 152 NI Regt RLC over the past few months.  Primarily, there has been the deployment of personnel on Op TOSCA.  These soldiers and Officers are part of the Mobile Force Reserve (MFR), which is a multinational force made up of Argentineans, Hungarians, Slovaks and British personnel.  There has also been a considerable move forward as we have trained more new soldiers, more drivers and more petroleum operators.  We are also seeing fabulous opportunities to use these skills with deployments to Jordan on Ex SHAMEL STORM and to the Falkland Islands.  This has all taken place while we have been able to achieve creditable results entering sailing, skiing, orienteering, mountain biking, shooting and football events.

Federation of Petroleum Suppliers EXPO

The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) Limited is the Trade Association for the oil distribution industry and ancillary interests in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It provides members with a collective voice for the industry at national level, services to assist members in optimising their business efficiencies and promotes best practice in the industry.

The Regiment were kindly invited to attend the FPS EXPO being held at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre by the Worshipful Company of Fuelers during the 20th and 21st April 16.

A small team from the Regiment packed up a Close Support Tank (CST) and transit van with display kit and headed for the overnight ferry to Liverpool.

Upon arrival the team were allocated a substantial spot and, after a bit of skilful manoeuvring, managed to get the CST and all their wares set up ready for the two day event. 

A wide variety of professionals in the oil distribution industry from the UK, Europe and America attended, showing off their equipment and had a genuine interest in the army stand, as it was the first time the army had attended such an event.


The Mobile Force Reserve (MFR) is 106 in strength and is a Multinational Mechanised Infantry Company which comprises 9 Argentine Tactica Armoured Personnel Carriers.  The breakdown of the company is: British – 55, Argentineans – 33, Slovakians – 9 and Hungarians – 9.

The role of the MFR is to provide security of the United Nations’ Protected Area and also Blue Beret Camp which is where the MFR is accommodated.  They also provide a Public Order capability whenever it is required.  The Operation Platoon will have 22 personnel on 90 minute’s notice to move at all times.

In a given Operations week, the Platoon may learn, for example: Mine awareness and recognition, due to the live mine fields that still exist in Cyprus, or recognition of other forces - as this is a peace keeping operation there is no enemy but it is important to know the difference between the Greek Cypriot forces and the Turkish Cypriot forces.  

This training varies each week but will also include specific Ops training.  There are a number of Ops the Platoon could be called out to and they must be ready for any of them at a moment’s notice.  Therefore, the whole Platoon will carry out practice drills on public order disturbance, security threats to the camp, direct attacks on the Force Commander and even fire-fighting.  

Working alongside our multinational counterparts has been very rewarding.  It comes with its challenges: the language barrier can, on occasion, take time to work through but credit must be given to their dedication to improve their English daily. The pros far outweigh the cons as we can draw on the wealth of experience these soldiers have. Integrating them into the Platoon has been hugely successful and real effort has gone into making them feel part of the team not just during duty but in our down time and days off too.

Exercise Ulster Reflection

In preparation for Ex Ulster Reflection to the Somme later this year, participants enhanced their historical knowledge by taking part in cultural visits.  The first visit was to the Somme Centre in Dundonald where a guide walked us through some of the events that took place on the Somme battlefields using props from the actual era, photographs, anecdotes, and realistic scenes recreated to help us understand what conditions were like for those serving on the front line at the time.  The second visit took place at Collins Barracks in Dublin, an historical visit in its own right, where a brief was given by Capt Seamus Greene (Retired) Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, and those attending could browse the extensive museum section.  Knowledge of the history will no doubt magnify our appreciation of what happened at the Somme, even more so when we see and experience the place where it all happened.

Nijmegen Marches - 100th Anniversary

The Nijmegen International Four Days Marches (or Vierdaagse) is the largest marching event in the world. The city of Nijmegen, within the Netherlands, plays host to the event which attracts approximately 45,000 participants each year. Of this number approximately 5,000 entrants are military personnel. Starting annually on the third Tuesday of July, the event takes place over four consecutive days. Each day’s march covers a different route, although the start point remains the same every day. For civilian participants this is in Nijmegen city centre whilst for military personnel it is Heumensoord Camp, approximately 5km south of the city centre. The distance covered each day (either 30, 40 or 50km) is dependent upon the age and category of the marcher. All military participants are required to complete the 40km military route making the total regulation distance covered 160km. 

A team of 12 personnel will be representing the Regiment at the 100th Nijmegen March which is held annually in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The team has been putting in miles on their feet by attending 1 weekend every month (since January) on the roads of Northern Ireland in all types of weather. 

Mountain Biking – LCpl Semple

RLC Reservist LCpl Semple first started mountain biking on an Adventure Training package with his squadron in 2011. He then went for a mountain bike foundation course in Scotland the following year. After that... he was addicted. He continued to go to the RLC championships and eventually met with the Army Team secretary who offered him a place on the Army Downhill Development team in 2013. In July 2014 he represented the RLC in a race called THE  MEGA AVALANCHE, a grueling race with 3000 entrants from around the world, starting 10,000ft up in the snow and ice-filled French Alps, part of which is on local ski slopes!! He finished 51st Overall.  
This year LCpl Semple became the Tri-Services' Top Veteran rider and the Army's New Downhill Champion in the Vets category - the only Reservist ever to take both crowns. LCpl  Semple has been offered a place on the Main Army Team for the 2016 season riding at National level all over the UK. Throughout this he has continued with Military promotional and AT courses and is now a Mountain Bike (MTB) trial leader for AT within the province, leading groups from the Royal Irish Regiment and 40 Signals Regiment. He is hoping to complete the final MTB Instructor course next year.

This has been an excellent period for the Regiment and there is plenty more on the horizon for the rest of 2016 and 2017.
To find out more about 152 (North Irish) Regiment RLC, call 02890 420642.