South West Reservist and Cadet News - July 2017
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In this month's issue

Somerset County Cricket Club demonstrates support to the Armed Forces

Somerset County Cricket Club has demonstrated their support to the Armed Forces Community by adopting the Armed Forces Covenant. They are now amongst more than 1,700 employers across the UK who have already pledged their support.

The Covenant was signed by Somerset County Cricket Club CEO Guy Lavender and Royal Navy representative Commander J M Punch MBE, during the clubs County Championship match against Yorkshire.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation, ensuring that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.  

Businesses, from sole-trader to multinational, public bodies or charities who wish to support the Armed Forces community can sign the Covenant and publicly declare their commitments.  Read more.

Bath Army Reservist joins Commando elite with Royal Engineers

“Unbelievable!” That was the instant reaction of Army Reservist Antonio Comparetto when he pulled on the famous Commando green beret for the first time.

Image Credit – paulbox©

At 36, the Sapper from Bath-based 131 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, had just become one of the oldest of soldiers to complete formidable Commando test – culminating in a 30-mile yomp across Dartmoor carrying a weapon and 30lbs of kit.

Ant, as he’s known to his Army mates, lives at Longwell Green, Bristol, and works as a warehouse manager for the Fighting Films Company, Fishponds.  Read more.

Bath Army Reserve Medic ready to answer emergency call-up

An emergency department nurse from Bath’s Royal United Hospital is ready and willing to deploy again as an Army Reserve medic with 243 Field Hospital.

Sergeant Joe Molloy was one of nearly 100 Reservists involved in a mass casualty scenario staged at the Army

Medical Services Training Centre in Yorkshire, to test the operational readiness of the Keynsham-based unit.

Over the next year, 243 Field Hospital could be deployed at short notice to tackle a military or humanitarian emergency anywhere in the world.

Joe is only 30 but has more than a decade’s experience with the Army Reserve Medical Service, including two tours of duty overseas.  Read more.

Exeter postman goes off-road with the RAF Reserve

RAF Reservists with 505 Squadron based at St Mawgan have been learning off road driving skills on the testing sand dunes of Braunton Burrows in North Devon.

The training is a first step to gaining a wide range of qualifications which could also benefit them in their civilian employment.

Being paid as a Reservist to gain a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) licence was a big attraction for 34-year-old Aircraftsman Ian Davie, who is a Royal Mail postman in Exeter.

“I was making a collection from the Armed Forces Careers Office in Exeter. There were posters about the Reserves and the driving opportunities caught my eye. I just made inquiries and applied.”  Read more.

Military charities join forces to launch new service for veterans

A new service launched today called ‘Veterans’ Gateway’ is promising to revolutionise a military charity sector that currently leaves over half (54 per cent) of veterans ‘confused’, by providing a first point of contact for veterans seeking support.

Launched ahead of the annual Armed Forces Day this weekend, ‘Veterans’ Gateway’ will improve access to welfare services and speed-up the time it takes for veterans to receive the support they deserve. The new £2 million service is funded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) from the Covenant Fund and will be delivered by a Royal British Legion-led consortium comprising Poppyscotland, Combat Stress, Connect Assist, the Ministry of Defence and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity.  Read more.

Yeovil school demonstrates support to the Armed Forces

The Armed Forces Covenant is a commitment between the state and those serving in the Armed Forces and their families. 

Over 200 businesses across the South West have committed to signing the covenant to demonstrate their

commitment to support families who serve the Armed Forces, and to recognise and value the contribution serving personnel and their families make to our country.

As the secondary school with the highest proportion of children from service families in Somerset, Stanchester Academy is incredibly proud of its commitment to ensure our service families have the greatest level of support possible through their education.

Read more.

James collects the coveted Commando green beret - from his dad!

A 22-year-old Royal Marines Reservist from Somerset is celebrating the award of the famous Commando green beret.

And James Spencer, from Taunton, will never forget the very special moment of the presentation – because the officer performing the ceremony was none other than his father, Brigadier Richard Spencer, Deputy Commandant General, Royal Marines.

Read more.

Military Intelligence Reservists go back to school

More than 500 pupils at Shirehampton Primary School in Bristol had fun testing their problem-solving and hand-eye co-ordination skills during a visit by Army Reservists from 7th Military Intelligence Battalion.

They also learned about how soldiers live ‘in the field’, about camouflage and concealment and how to prepare meals from ration packs. Then the Reservists stayed to have school lunch with the pupils.

It was the first time that many of the girls and boys – aged from 3 to 11 – had seen someone in Army uniform, other than on TV or films.  Read more.

Plymouth's Army Reserve Gunners on the buses

A trio of bus drivers in Plymouth proudly wore their Army uniforms to work on Reserves Day (21 June) – and brought an artillery gun to the Citybus depot in Milehouse Road.

Army Reserve Sergeant Wayne Beckett, 42, has been driving double-deckers for Plymouth Citybus for three years. Off duty, he dons his green beret as the man in charge of commando training at 289 Commando Troop, an Army Reserve detachment of 266 Battery, Royal Artillery.

Two more members of 289 Troop are bus drivers too – Gunner Lewis Poulter, 33, and Lance-Bombardier James Pritchett, 32.  Read more.

Sea Cadets Newsletter

The Sea Cadets July 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 3,700 tri-service Reservists and 15,000 Cadets across the South West.

The RFCA is also required to assist the Defence Council and all three services.  To find out more 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 - Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, Army Reserve and 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 Wessex has a range of interesting buildings available to hire across the South West - from fully equipped Cadet and Reserve Centres to beautiful listed buildings dating back hundreds of years.  
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