Army Reserves on the march in Caithness

January 28, 2016

The John O’ Groats Journal has reported on a resurgence in the number of people applying to join the Army Reserves in Caithness.

Under the headline “Army Reserves increasing their numbers with more than 30 recruits in last month” the paper ran the following story:

Army Reserves are on the march in Caithness again after it was revealed a resurgence has seen more than 30 people apply to join just 12 months after the organisation’s base was shut down in the far north.

A drive to reintroduce a presence in the county has proven successful with 32 people either trained or at the application stage of joining.

Last year it aimed to have at least 30 people signed up by the end of 2016 but it has surpassed that total with 11 months to spare.

The recruitment drive was seen as the last chance for the reserves in the area and Colour Sergeant Richard Otley, from Watten, said the enthusiasm from applicants means it has sprung back into life.

He said: “We now have nine trained soldiers in Wick, with around another 23 recruits who have formally applied at various stages in the process, including two female potential officers.

“On Sunday (24 Jan), nine potential reservists from Wick (pictured above) were transported to Fort George for a Look at Life Day where they received information on joining the Army Reserves.”

After receiving a briefing from a commanding officer, a demonstration of basic field craft and live firing of general purpose machine guns followed.

The day ended by troops landing in front of the candidates in a Chinook helicopter before assaulting a perceived enemy position.

On Monday, Lt Col Piers Strudwick, CO 7 Scots – the driving force of the initiative’s resurgence in the county – addressed Caithness Highland councillors at Wick Town Hall about the success the Army Reserves has had in re-establishing itself in the community.

It is a further boost to the Army Reserves which announced last month it will be sharing the Army Cadet hall in Wick’s Macrae Street as its main base in the county.

The organisation was previously based at the TA hall in Dempster Street but due to the number of reservists falling to insufficient levels in 2014 it gave up the lease.

In a further attempt to attract more volunteers, it is planning a shooting day in Wick in April when reservists will take on local cadet forces and the Royal British Legion in a competition.

Reserve soldiers are volunteers with the British Army who are not tied to a contract but are paid for their service.  Anyone aged between 18 and 50 can apply to join.