South West Reservist and Cadet News - November 2016
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In this month's issue

Wiltshire company wins gold award for supporting 'the military family'

A Wiltshire-based learning and organisation development consultancy has received a Gold award from Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, recognising the firm’s outstanding commitment as an employer of Reservists, ex-Regulars and other members of ‘the military family’.  Read more.

Lord-Lieutenant honours all-action Newton Abbot Reservist

Lee Woodfield’s feet have hardly touched the ground in the seven years since he was turned down for service in the British Army as being too old – and promptly joined the Territorial Army (now Army Reserve) instead.

The carpenter and joiner from Newton Abbot, now 43, has twice been deployed to Afghanistan, as well as completing a stint in Kosovo. He’s an Army physical training instructor; taken part in exercises with the Regular Army in Poland and Canada; and qualified as a Challenger 2 crewman.

Now, Lee is celebrating further, double success.

Within days of earning promotion to Corporal with his Royal Wessex Yeomanry unit at Exeter, he received the Lord Lieutenant of Devon’s Certificate of Meritorious Service during ceremonies at Dartington Hall, Totnes,  Read more.

Bovis Homes support the Armed Forces community

Leading national housebuilder Bovis Homes has publicly declared their support to the Armed Forces Community, by signing the Armed Forces Covenant and announcing a wealth of schemes for the benefit of service personnel.

The Bovis Homes Discount Scheme, which was launched at the Covenant signing, is open to serving forces

personnel (Regular and Reservist). It allows service personnel to combine buyer assistance schemes with a package of offers from the company, in order to purchase their own Bovis home as simply and affordably as possible.

As part of their commitment to the service men and women, Bovis has devised two new and exclusive Armed Forces Schemes.  Read more.

39 Signal Regiment to be the first Reservist unit trained on Army's Falcon communications system

Reservists attending 39 Signal Regiment’s annual camp in West Wales have been introduced to Falcon, the Army’s new secure, deployable broadband, voice, data and video communications system.
Colonel Joe Cooper, Commander 2 Signal Group (left, front) with Lieutenant-Colonel Nik Bruce, Commanding Officer of 39 Signal Regiment, along with Reservists on annual camp from the Regiment’s Squadrons in Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and Windsor.

They will be among the first Reservists to be trained on Falcon once courses get under way early next year. Commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Nik Bruce explained: “The communications equipment we’ve had for a number of years has served its purpose but it’s no longer supported.  Read more.

Dorset recruitment business signs the Armed Forces Covenant

Bournemouth based company, Electus Recruitment, has demonstrated their support to the Armed Forces Community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Dorset business publicly signed the Covenant at Bovington Tank Museum, on 27th September, in front of a World War One Tank Mark II.

Colonel Gorden Judd, Commander Armour Centre, co-signed the Covenant. He was joined by Lieutenant Colonel John Godfrey, Commanding Offer of The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, the local armoured Reserve unit, based at Bovington.  Read more.

Student Matthew revels in his role as a Royal Artillery Reservist

Gunner Matthew Cohu, a 19-year-old newcomer to the ranks of the Army Reserve in Bristol, has already set his sights on earning a Commando’s Green Beret.

His ultimate ambition is to become a Regular Army officer, his target being a place on the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2018.

Matthew has earned around £4,000 in pay on duty and bonuses in his first year with 266 Battery.

The unit is part of 104 Regiment, Royal Artillery, and has a specialist reconnaissance role, equipped with a small, hand-launched, unmanned aircraft called the Desert Hawk 3.

As a second-year undergraduate studying for a degree in politics and international relations at UWE, Matthew might have been expected to join the Bristol University Officers Training Corps, which serves the three universities in the West of England.Read more.

Reservist from 501 Squadron graduates with Regular colleagues

In September, Lisa McLaughlin, a logistics driver from 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron (Sqn) Royal Auxiliary Air Force, was one of 22 Reservists who took part in the Regular Recruit Training Squadron – Graduation Parade which took place at RAF Halton.

Every month, RAF Reservists complete a two week residential phase to complete their basic recruit training course and have a graduation parade reviewed by the Inspector of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. However, twice a year RAF Reservists also join their Regular colleagues in a full ceremonial event, where they can parade in No1 Uniform, watched by their by their families.

Lisa McLaughlin is the first of the 501 Sqn personnel to take part in the Regular parade, which entailed four days of drill (including learning arms drill), and rehearsals to enable her and the other Reservists to parade with their Regular colleagues.  Read more.

‘Gold standard' Bristol Reservist in final three for top Defence award

The first Reservist to use Electronic Counter Measure equipment on the front line in Afghanistan was one of three finalists in a special category in this year’s Women in Defence Awards 2016, which recognised exceptional service of women working in UK defence.

Bristol-born Staff Sergeant Cassie Downs, 36, of 39th Signal Regiment, is a credit control manager in her civilian life, but in the British Army Reserve she supervises a troop of more than 20 soldiers and looks after millions of pounds of communications equipment.

Cassie, who has been a Reservist for 13 years, has seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as deploying at home during widespread flooding in Gloucester and Somerset in 2007 and 2014 respectively.  Read more.

Sea Cadets Newsletter

The Sea Cadets November newsletter is now available.  For news about the Sea Cadets throughout the country click here.

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About Wessex RFCA

The Wessex Reserve Forces' & Cadets' Association is an independent, non-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting the 3000 tri-service Reservists and 14,000 Cadets across the South West of England.

The RFCA is also required to assist the Defence Council and all three services at any level. To find out more about the RFCA
click here.


Reservists come from all backgrounds, regions and jobs and get paid to train in their spare time. The Reserves cover all three services - The Royal Naval Reserve, Army Reserve, The Royal Marines Reserve and the Royal Air Force Reserve. Find out more.


The aim of the UK cadet forces are to contribute to the development of young people. Cadets have the chance develop new skills and qualities needed to ensure they become the next generation of responsible citizens. Find out more.

Alternative Venues

Alternative Venues Wessex has a range of interesting buildings available to rent across the South West - from fully equipped Cadet and Territorial Army Centres to beautiful listed buildings dating back hundreds of years. Find out more.

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