148 Troop Recruit Diary – Week 25
Week 25 started early with most people still sore from the 12 mile load carry on the Friday before the weekend. Up and ready the Troop was keen and determined to pass the 6 mile speed march we had planned that morning. We made our way up to the pavilion over on the top field where our kit was weighed and we started a warm up. ‘Fall in 2 ranks on the road’ and that was it, we had started the speed march. The first mile was agonising. Stiff legs, aching shins and a moderately warmed up body. People were already starting to fall behind, and it had only just begun. The run after the first mile started to smooth out, as people were now warmed up properly. We knew what was coming next, ‘Killer Hill’. To keep time we doubled up the first part then walked at a decent pace the rest of the way ensuring we used big strides to keep up. After ‘Killer Hill’ was the water stop, most of the Troop was still going strong, minus a few. The speed march finally finished with everyone exhausted but still able to focus, as if ready to go into a fire fight. We lined out on the car park in section sticks and were issued our cap comforters.
During the rest of the week we had an LMG shoot and a weapons handling test which everyone seemed to pass with ease, as the basic drills are more apparent to us now we have had hands on weapons for the majority of training. We then packed our kit and prepared ourselves for RM Poole, the rest of the week would be amphibious training and sea survival. When we arrived at Poole we were taken into a drying room which would be where we were to return on administering ourselves. We were shown how to put on a life jacket correctly and take it off, when lying on the beach after coming off the LCU. After learning how to fit the life jacket we moved straight to capsize drills where in groups of 6 we had to jump into the sea, which was icers! Report to the corporal saying our name and service number then swim over the Inflatable, we all had to stand on the side of the boat and hold on to the rope and one big pull, and its over. Then one person has to go underneath where there is a air pocket in the centre of the boat, and hold on to the rope so that as the other five pull the boat back over doing the same drill, standing on the edge and pulling on the rope the man in the middle will come up with the boat and end up inside. This was the end of the first day and a cold one at that.
We then got hands on the Inflatable boats and had to paddle out to the end of the jetty then back.
After this drill we swapped onto the Offshore Raiding Craft and learnt how to board and get off the correct way. Once all the drills were learnt in the daylight we were taken out again at last light to do it in the dark. We had to move from the LCU to the ORC whilst moving in a quick and safe manner. We learnt the different commands such as ‘ready to beach’ where you check off your pouches and put your helmet on. ‘Prepare to beach’ move into a fire position covering all arcs of the boat. ‘Out troops’ the Troop exits the boat two at a time keeping a low profile over the edge of the boat, and lowering slowly into the water. Making your way up to the beach where you crawl into a fire position with the rest of the troop following making a horseshoe shape formation covering all arcs to the front and sides.
After the amphibious training was complete we moved to HMS Collingwood where we stayed in the accommodation provided for us. We then had sea survival training the rest of the week. The night we arrived at Collingwood we were allowed to go over to the galley/hall where there was entertainment with a pink tribute playing for the navy lads. This was followed by karaoke which a few of the recruits in the Troop took part in making the navy lads leave because we were too loud for their liking.
The following morning was another early start and when we arrived for the sea survival lectures it seemed to go on for hours with the instructor going over the same things more than once, for safety but it was hard to stay awake! The first exercise we had to do was to jump into the water with a full wet suit and life jacket inflated on and swim to the inflatable where we had to perform another capsizing drill, this time was a solo effort, but easy enough. After everyone passed this we had to jump back into the water and swim out a fair distance and with confidence to the inflatable and perform all the safety checks which was conducted by a instructor in case we needed the extra help.
The second day of sea survival training was all about fire on a ship. So we learnt how to use the different pieces of safety equipment available from the fire extinguishers to the re-breathers for when trapped in a room full of smoke. Firstly we learnt how to use the fire extinguishers on different fires on a demonstration safety model where every member had hands on to ensure everyone knew what they were doing. We then split into two groups one group using the fire extinguishers first the other using the re-breather.
On the fire extinguisher lesson we had to fill up the extinguisher make sure it was fully working then move into a small room in groups of four and learn how to put out a fire in a corridor making sure you do not apply the foam straight onto the fire but you smother it and cover the surrounding areas. We also used the fire hose which works the same was as the extinguisher, except for the safety checks making sure it is turned to the ‘on’ position and is on the correct setting. Moving onto the re-breather we had to first make sure the re-breather was fitted to us before we left the administration area. We were then led into a smoke filled room and had to make our way through, keeping a hand on the man in front. We had to face obstacles such as steps and ladders, the ladders had a instructor at the bottom with a thermal camera so we could get a quick look as to where we were going. Once the whole group had made their way through the smoke filled room, we headed back to the administration area and told that everyone had passed. That was it the course was complete.
We made our way back to the main foyer and handed our fire protection clothing back then made our way back to the coach to take us back to Lympstone. The bus ride back was the worst ever with the bus driver playing JACK.FM all the way! Possibly the worst radio station around! After we were all back, we sorted our kit, packed up all our kit we needed to take home and got early heads down ready to Christmas leave the next day!