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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



25 September 2018

Army Training unit (Northern Ireland) (ATU (NI)) has again had a busy quarter delivering Phase one training to Army Reserves based throughout the UK, however the ethos of “working hard” and “playing hard” has ensured that the mix of business, career development and an element of fun have all been maintained. Check out this update from CSM Somme Company below...

A Battlefield Study in Italy as well as Adventurous Training completed on our own door step, made for a mixed variety of activities allowing for the trainers to take a welcome break from intensive training that fills the majority of their time.

Somme Company

We have seen the name of the Initial Training Company change to Somme Company in commemoration of the battle fiercely fought by so many soldiers from the Island of Ireland. The Company have successfully delivered one Initial Phase 1 (Alpha) 4 weekend modular course and our ever popular three week SHAMROCK CHALLENGE which consisted of a Consolidated one week Alpha course followed directly by a two week Bravo course extensively utilising the facilities available at both Ballykinler and Magilligan Training Centres. 

Priding ourselves in being the only ATU that currently delivers both Alpha and Bravo courses entirely staffed by Reserve Trainers we have successfully trained 47 recruits to complete their Alpha and / or Bravo Courses in province. Instructors have also assisted other Army Training Units in the mainland with the delivery of their courses building good working relationships and exchanging best teaching practices.

Somme Company continues to develop its instructors through career courses, external qualifications, continuous professional development and other opportunities to ensure that ATU(NI) continue to meet the needs of the Field Army.

Cassino Challenge

In June 2018 the Unit conducted Exercise CASSINO CHALLENGE. This was a Battlefield Study to Italy where we spend 5 days studying the 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino that lasted approximately 123 days. The unit had the privilege of having historian Richard Doherty as a guide. His extensive knowledge of this battle was greatly appreciated by all members of the Unit who found that no matter what question was asked he had the answer to hand without the need for any further research.

Given that the Staff from the ATU work tirelessly for almost 52 weeks of the year dedicating their time to the training of recruits, this was a welcome reward for all staff for their commitment throughout the training year.

Adventurous Training

September saw the first opportunity for the Unit to partake in Adventurous Training and given that the spectacular Mourne Mountains form the backdrop for the ATU(NI) it was not hard to see the attraction to them by the Staff. 

Broken into Syndicates the Unit had the opportunity to partake in a Navigational Hill Walking, Forest Trail Mountain Biking and Salt Water Kayaking although given that the weather had taken a turn the latter were the preferences. This gave all staff the opportunity to unleash their competitive edge and made for some memorable moments that will undoubtably be shared in the Units Joint Mess for years to come

Pistol Competition

Shooting is a key skill thought at the ATU and Somme Company have had previous success at the Initial Training Group Skill at Arms Meeting at Pirbright. This quarter we decided to diversify slightly and entered a team in the All Army Reserve Pistol Championships held in Pirbright. 

A small team was selected to attend this event with only one afternoons and achieved a 17th place out of the 33 teams that took part.  This has really allowed a firm understanding of how this competition is run and the different disciplines the competition is made up of. The goal of potential silver wear is in the sights for next year.

Dine out

One of the social events held this quarter was the Regimental Dine out or our current Padre Maj Ed Gorringe who is moving to a new post in GB and therefore will shortly depart for greened pastures.

The evening started with pre-dinner drinks in the joint Mess before moving to the main cookhouse for dinner followed by speeches and presentations.

Ed played a crucial role in the pastoral care of both the Recruits and Staff at the ATU (NI). He is always willing to help and always had a listening ear.  His humorous outlook and perspectives on life along with his endless supply of work related jokes will be sadly missed.

Thanks to Ed for all the work and assistance he has provided to us and the many Recruits who have carried out their training here at BTC. 

Look Forward

It is hoped that the good weather will last until the end of September allowing the Unit to once again thank the families for their support throughout the year with the Pathways Activity Team providing bouncy castles, archery as well as BB gun range and inflatable assault course for the enjoyment of all the staff and their families. The BBQ should provide the much-needed calorie intake following a day of endless activity.

With November quickly approaching organisation of the Remembrance Service is well under way. As this is the 100th Anniversary of Armistice day it will be a very somber and poignant day that we remember all that have fallen throughout all the conflicts the Field Army have been involved in. There will be a service of Remembrance at our own memorial which is situated beside the mess.

CSM Somme Company
Army Training Unit (NI)