Saturday, 22 February 2014

Pride of Coventry Awards – By LCpl Steven Hoskins RLC (243 (Coventry) Headquarters Squadron

Yesterday, LCpl Steven Hoskins, aged 23 from Coventry, attended the 2013 Pride of Coventry Awards’ Ceremony hosted by Free Radio's breakfast show presenters JD and Roisen.  LCpl Hoskins has been a Reservist and valued member of 243 Squadron based in Canley for the past four years.  He was attending the awards’ ceremony as he was nominated in the ‘Armed Forces Hero’ category, which recognises the efforts of Armed Forces personnel who work and live in the Coventry area.

In addition to his full time job, LCpl Hoskins is a dedicated Reservist soldier; fully trade qualified as a Logistic Supply Specialist and as a Physical Training Instructor.  In his trade role he deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and as an instructor he leads on all physical training undertaken by his Squadron, a vital role in the development and transformation of the Territorial Army into the Army Reserve.  In the short periods in between these two commitments he also finds time to volunteer for the West Midlands Ambulance Service as a Community First Responder.  In this latter role he works a weekly shift pattern, on call, to quickly deploy to local incidents to provide initial and sometime life-saving treatment to casualties until a qualified Paramedic arrives.

159 Supply Regiment's British Army Reservist LCpl Hoskins receiving his Pride of Coventry Award 2014.The awards’ ceremony, at the Hilton in Coventry, was well attended, with notable guests such as the Lord Mayors of Coventry and Warwick, plus of course nominees from across the community and their supporting friends and families.  To support LCpl Hoskins were his Commanding Officer, Lt Col C J Francis MBE RLC; Welfare Officer, Capt M Singh MBE RL; Troop Commander, Lt J Kinahan RLC; and his grandfather, Mr Herbert Hoskins.  Herbert especially enjoyed the ceremony and opportunity to relish in the plaudits and gratitude expressed by the local community in thanks and praise of his grandson’s efforts. 

That LCpl Hoskins was the actual winner of the award, was simply the icing on the cake.  In accepting the award LCpl Hoskins said:

LCpl Hoskins of 159 Supply Regiment holding his award at the Pride of Coventry awards ceremony."I would Firstly like to thank all those who nominated me, it came as a huge shock when I was asked to stand in front of my Officer Commanding (Maj G Bilsbarrow RLC) where he then explained that I had been put forward for a nomination, but I'd also like to thank all of those other well deserving people who were also nominated. They have all done something that warrants a nomination and they were all winners today.  To be able to attend the event with the Commanding Officer, the Regimental Welfare Officer, my Troop Commander and my Grandfather was a huge privilege that I will remember for a long time to come""

159 Supply Regiment of the British Army's Commanding Officer, Welfar Officer, Troop Commander, LCpl Hoskins and his grandfather Mr Hoskins at the Pride of Coventry awards ceremony 2014.
The entire Regiment congratulates LCpl Hoskins on his nomination and success in claiming the award.  His dedication and selfless character epitomise all that is good about society at large and tenets held in even higher regard in the military community. 

Monday, 17 February 2014


Welcome to the third edition of the Barbarian Blog which although a little late out of the blocks, has grown in size! The delay in publishing has largely been due to the fact that we have been intensely busy since the last edition and due to some guest contributors.

Having now recovered and demobilised the Operation HERRICK 18 cohort, deployed Operation HERRICK 19, and mobilised Operation HERRICK 20A, life within the ‘Barbarians’ continues apace. I am fiercely proud of our achievements to date, and wish to pay tribute to my team of Regulars and Reserves, who have worked so hard to recruit, train, select and mobilise the steady stream of willing and hugely capable volunteers. The Regiment has now provided a Reservist cohort of at least 1 officer and 23 soldiers for the last four iterations – over 100 Reservists. This is a magnificent effort and testimony too to the value and worth of the Reservist Soldier. We have one more cohort to mobilise before our commitment to Afghanistan comes to an end. Whilst we have a number of volunteers ready to step up to the plate, there is always room for more. The selection battle camp for this final cohort will take place during the Regimental Annual Deployment Exercise, over in Germany this coming May - don’t miss it!

I thank you all for your continued commitment and enthusiasm, and will do my part to ensure the Regiment receives the support that it needs to allow you to continue in this vein. In the meantime enjoy this edition of the Blog, which see’s a new contribution from Major Claude Preira MBE, the Regimental Quartermaster, and Pte Evans from 123 (Telford) Squadron.


The Operation HERRICK 18 are now home and have demobilised. They enjoyed a hugely successful tour embedded with 9 Theatre Logistic Regiment and the excellent reputation of the Regiment has been further enhanced; they can be justly proud of their achievements.

In the meantime our Operation HERRICK 19 cohort are now approaching the twilight of their tour with 27 Theatre Logistics Group, with only a few more months remaining. Owing to the increase in tempo in Afghanistan, as the end of combat operations’ deadline approaches this winter, we have received fewer updates from theatre than we had become used to. We do know though, that the team settled quickly and hit the ground running, making an instant, positive impression with their Regular counterparts. LCpl Mackay from 381 (Lancaster) Squadron took time to put pen to paper and sent us an update on life out on tour. I know that this was put up on your Squadron information boards and hopefully you will have all seen it. We look forward to their return and hearing more ‘war stories’ come the summer.

We have now also mobilised our Operation HERRICK 20A cohort, who are presently embedded with 1 Logistic Support Regiment and are in Germany going through their pre-deployment training. Operation HERRICK 20B is in the planning stages, and is very likely to be the last opportunity to deploy on an operational tour for the foreseeable future. We always need more volunteers, so I encourage those of you or are contemplating applying to do so. The selection process for this cohort will take place during the Regimental Annual Deployment Exercise, in Germany over the period 10 - 24 May.


I am pleased to say that the technical issues which affected all of the Army’s recruiting efforts appear to have subsided – the proof is the vastly increased inflow of new recruits. Whilst there remain areas for improvement, as I suspect will always be the case, much has been done to ease the burden on hard pressed recruiting teams, and adjustments to policy now allow us to undertake more training with potential candidates prior to attestation. The challenge to us however remains the same, to attract new recruits and to ensure that we provide effective mentoring and support to those in the system waiting to complete Phase 1 training; a responsibility that sits with us all.


The main effort at the moment is the planning for our Annual Deployment Exercise in May this year in Sennelager. It will follow a similar construct to last year with activities being split between the final Operation HERRICK selection battle camp, a Potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer Cadre, Supply and other Special to Arm training, plus some Adventure Training. Adventure training this year will be split between Bavaria (Klettersteig, rock climbing, mountain biking and walking) and also Kiel Sail Training Centre, with some sail-training and the opportunity to complete a rib safety boat handling course . In addition there will also be some driver conversion training for the 6 and 15 tonne MAN SV and Landrover. A short 5 day low-level exercise will also be run under the leadership of Lt Kinahan, who has been attached to the Regiment as a Troop Commander for 6 months from our paired Regular unit 6 Regiment. He will work alongside our Reservists to help with their training and development, whilst he gains an understanding of the Reserve environment and our capabilities.

Prior to that however, we have a range of training activities, both at Squadron and Regimental levels, which include trade training, soldier first and MATTs’ weekends. Your attention is drawn to the Regimental training weekend 28 February – 2 March, taking place at Swynerton, where MATTs 1 – 6 will be conducted as a sweep up for those that need to qualify for their Certificate of Efficiency.


Many of you will already be aware that the Regiment has re-launched its Twitter account - @159SupRegt. From the feed you will get updates on events planned, happening and happened as well as some key messaging and opinion from within the Regiment and Brigade. Please follow us and get in touch with your views about what is sent and what you would like to see sent. We have also engaged with the West Midland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association media office, who will also advertise what we are up to as a Regiment, both before and after the event. So there is plenty of social media coverage to keep you informed, but also hopefully to attract new interest. We do however need to get much better at capturing our training on camera in order that we can show-off what we do. Please pass on any of those ‘you have been framed’ moments that have been captured to your respective Squadron PSIs or just tweet them and mention us so that we can re-tweet it. We have so much to be proud of and that message can be passed very quickly with your help.

Quartermaster’s Department (by Maj Claude Preira MBE RLC)

Sitting in the stomach of this Regiment charged with the responsibility of feeding this body; the challenge constant, hunger runs deep as a result of the high metabolism and yet, G4 continues to provide food from a larder that is often close to empty! “Thank the Lord for MJDI!” ’

During my tenure as Quartermaster this is my first submission to the blog, only because I have finally managed to find a moment to take my head out of regulations, books and countless assurance inspection reports, not to mention the meetings, visits and my busy social calendar! I feel I can speak on behalf of my team, when I say “It is nice to say goodbye to 2013”. Clearly, a baptism of fire!

It all started with JAMES training, quickly followed by G4 preparation for the Annual Deployment Exercise. The G4 Command Group consisting of the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, WO2 Kev Edwards, the Mechanical Transport Warrant Officer, WO2 Stan Stanley and SSgts (Artificer Quartermaster Sergeant) Danny Bromage (Tiffy) and Terry Burrows (Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant) all descended into my office and subsequently enjoyed a day of G4 analysis - all done in a “QM 5 minutes”! It was emotional. We all spilled our minds onto paper (very messy), but the effect was immense and exercise a great success; based on the fact that nobody starved and the transport went to plan (well, apart from a convoy taking a slightly different route plan on the approach to Sennelager!). Oh, and we even did some kit exchanges! On our return home we fell into the jaws of the introduction MJDI (Management of Joint Deployed Inventory) training, where all the G4 staff, including civilians, went onto a concentrated training period of 3 weeks of hard learning – even Les got it!!! From then on, we have had great joy reconciling stock into AinU’s (new name for a notional store). The first few weeks were very messy well, at least on paper and on one particular occasion the SQMS in 237 (West Bromwich) Squadron even managed to fit all of his stores and equipment into the Armoury! He must have been off sick during that part of his MJDI course.

On the Equipment front we saw the MT and LAD leading the field in preparation for ECI. There were plenty of long sleepless nights dreaming of JAMES, limited role of vehicles and inspection reports. A good deal of spit and polish also went into preparing for this event and clearly it was a resounding success! “Let’s try and deploy all our kit into the field during next year’s inspection” could make life easier all round. With the advent of JAMES the team continued to work hard so that all of the number crunching was done meticulously to ensure the status of the fleet was accurately maintained. Our next challenge was to pair JAMES with MJDI, one that proved to be just that, a challenge, even to the most ardent of “G4 Computer Geeks”. It resulted in most of the G4/ES staff converged on PH’s terminal (in his absence) to put this to bed once-and-for-all! Nnd and then Sadly, they all went home empty handed, yes we failed! “Tomorrow is a new day”.

We have also found time for some fun with events such as hill walking, ably organised by SSgt Lucas from 381 (Lancaster) Squadron, and of course some collective letting down of the hair. Most recently we had a Christmas dinner organised by Mr Sean Langford.

News from around the Patch

123 Ammunition Sqn (Telford/Stoke) – Maj AC Nicholson OC. This has been quite a busy period for 123 Squadron. The recruiting team under the direction of SSgts Burton and Norton have been very active in the area and with a good deal of success. We have currently 21 Candidates on TRHJ of which 5 have been attested. 4 are currently on Phase 1 Training and 1 is conducting Trade Training. The Squadron has a further 9 contacts who have yet to fill in an application form. In addition a further 2 have been attested during January 14. These new additions will be trained using the newly implemented Phase 0 and Phase -1 training programmes.

A Troop (Telford) under the organisation and guidance of SSgt Bromley held a Families’ Day to welcome back 7 Reservists from HERRICK 18. This was primarily to aid the integration and cohesion of A&B Troops and to show family members the support that the Squadron offers for members deploying and returning from operations. The event was great success and 86 people attended.

Last October 7 reservists (Capt Lord, SSgt Bromley, Cpl Holmes, Cpl Columb, LCpl Trueman, LCpl Bedson and Pte Jeffries) took part in the BUPA Birmingham Half Marathon in aid of the charity Cancer Research UK and in memory of the late Dave Bradley, ex-Squadron Commander and Regimental Second-in-Command. The team raised the princely sum of £720.00 for the charity and completed the event with a team average time of 1hr 46 mins per runner.

In November the Squadron led the Leegomary and Hadley local authority Service of Remembrance. In keeping with Squadron tradition the Sergeant Major, WO2 Adams, took on the role of Parade Marshall and our newest member, Pte Hemming, was given the task of placing the wreath at the cenotaph to commemorate those who gave their lives fighting for their country, a duty he conducted with extreme professionalism. This was a proud moment for the OC as it was his first official parade with his soldiers.

Later in the month we conducted a semi-formal sit down meal to welcome home the Operation HERRICK 18 volunteers and to said farewell to a stalwart and our longest serving member, SSgt Seabrook; whose service spanned 13 years Regular and 22 Territorial Army.

Following the welcome Christmas break a skiing exercise conducted at Tignes in the French Alps saw 9 Squadron members (Capt Speak, WO2 Ruane, SSgt Burton, SSgt Ponter, LCpl Garton, LCpl Holmes, LCpl Lavell, LCpl Orange, and Pte Evans) participate in Exercise BARBARIAN ALPINE DRAGON. In addition, WO2 Ruane, LCpl O’Riley and Pte Allison have been selected to attend Exercise RLC SKI in February.

216 (Tynemouth) Squadron – Maj H Drennan OC. This has been a cracking period for the Squadron. In the run up to Christmas it was all hands on deck to prepare for the Squadron Christmas Ball. The evening was a great success with almost 100 in attendance – a great turnout.

Post Christmas has seen a steady increase in attendance, from potential recruits to guys/gals that we have not seen for some time. We successfully ran a Team Medic Course, which was organised and delivered by Sgt Brooks. The feedback from the course participants was excellent and the aspiration is to run the course at each Squadron within the Regiment. We have also had Ptes Banks and Crinnion return from a skiing expedition who had a brilliant time and can’t wait to get their skis back on.

On the operations front, we welcomed back LCpl Boldrini, Ptes Brown, Crinnioni, Rudman, Pirie and Sewell from Operation HERRICK 18. All of the soldiers had a great tour and represented the Regiment and Squadron well. In the meantime we have also said farewell to 4 members who have volunteered for the next iteration; farewell and good luck to LCpl Miller, LCpl Tambin, Pte Ryan and Pte Turgoose. We should not of course forget those who are currently away and the hard work that they are delivering in Afghanistan: Ptes Edler, Elsdon and Percy.

237 (West Bromwich) Squadron - Maj D Paget OC. Prior to the Christmas break the Squadron held a MATTs’ training day which concluded with the soldier’s Christmas lunch followed by entertainment and drinks in the bar. During the meal we took the opportunity to write Christmas cards to the Squadron’s Operation HERRICK 19 cohort, the ‘Magnificent 7’, who are being able led by SSgt Lewis. As part of the proceedings I had the privilege to promote some Ptes to LCpl – congratulations to LCpl Thompson and Conoghan; Ptes Ward and Leja were also selected and will be promoted to LCpl on completion of the Potential JNCO Cadre. The final award of the day, and year, was the most prestigious and I am pleased to confirm that the Squadron’s Soldier of the year award went to Pte Tfari.

After the much needed break, all Squadron personnel returned refreshed and ready to face the challenges ahead. We also welcomed back LCpl Bell, Pte’s Mckee, Ward and Scarlet from their deployments and at the same time bade farewell to Ptes Banks, Wood and Hickman on Operation HERRICK 20A. The SPSI WO2 (SQMS) English departed on Exercise BARBARIAN ALPINE (Skiing) with 3 members of the Squadron, they all had a great time and discovered talents that they did not know they had. Finally, a welcome to the newest recruits to the Squadron: Ptes Natalie Cullis, Craig Sutton and Jenny Constable.

243 (Coventry) Squadron – Maj G Bilsbarrow OC. This has been a period where we have seen attendance numbers start to pick up again, possibly due to the new and more exciting training programme. We have also now introduced a new PT club every Wednesday evening which seems to be attracting a good level of attendance. This is organised by the PTIs and they want all members of the Squadron to attend so that they can do bigger and more painful sessions!

Recruiting remains a priority and we are now getting good returns from CAPITA although actual number increases are slow to appear. We have recently held a very successful trade weekend where numbers were good and we have our first 5 volunteers for Operation HERRICK 20B. 3 of our members recently attended Exercise BARBARIAN ALPINE DRAGON in France and a great time was had by all with a new potential instructor being found in Pte Adam Robson; and LCpl Hoskins managed to scrape into the top group after a good ski-off at startex. WO2 Williams has now started to make progress with the charity Grapevine and the first event for this group will be held in the Memorial Park in May 14 with a command task and sports day for these fine people with learning disabilities.

In November the Squadron supported the Coventry Remembrance Parade, providing the largest uniformed contingent for the service. Later that month we also hosted a joint charity event with DHL, raising over £1000.00 for Help For Heroes. Finally we are now in the final stages of organising an Adventure Training weekend (7-9 March) which will include mountain biking, canoeing and climbing and promises to be a very exciting event.

And finally:

Pte George Evans from 123 (Telford) Squadron has produced an excellent report from Exercise BARBARIAN ALPINE DRAGO 14 that I thought I would share with you…

As far as adventure training goes in the Army Reserve skiing is one of many types of outdoor activities that gets given a 10 out of 10, simply because of the sheer exhilaration and challenges it presents; so says Pte George Evans editor and script writer of this piece. The 19 Army Reservists, 2 x FTRS (very old officers) and 2 Regulars from the Regiment realised this after 7 days’ skiing, in Tignes near Val D’Isere, ably supported by their 4 instructors - 2 of which are also from 159 Supply Regiment.

From the moment we stepped off the very uncomfortable coach in Tignes Val Claret, (the village that is at the bottom of the Grande Motte glacier which is 3700+ meters above sea level) we immediately settled into our very comfortable and roomy 4 man boxes or should that be box rooms. A quick admin brief later and then we were ready for the fitting of boots and skis, all set for the week ahead; including the falls, trips and face plants that would surely follow. It wasn’t just the novices by all accounts, some of the more experienced skiers were also preparing themselves mentally for their advancement. The bus journey part of exercise did not apply to everyone though. Pte Joe Cluney, who actually bought his flatmate’s passport with him to the MCCP, had to make his own arrangements (after collecting his passport) and he booked a flight and transfer with the help of Sgt Laura Morrisey. Despite the embarrassment, he probably had the better deal due to the comfort of his travel arrangements.

Day one started with the group being split into 4 ability groups in the hostel and then the transfer on to the small slope named Bollin. This allowed the Chief Instructor and the other instructors to correctly grade those with previous experience – and this was where anyone who perhaps exaggerated their skill levels was immediately found out. The four groups each had an instructor, including WO2 Gaz “Powder Snow” English and WO2 Ross “I will see you on PT” McDougall; the other two were Musn Lauren Porter from the Welsh Guards Band and WO1 Iain (“Speed is good, control is better”) Waterston of the REME.

Musn Porter enjoyed the privilege of developing the beginners group and WO2 McDougall had the remainder. They took us under their respective wings and with a bit of persistence taught us various basic moves which would prove invaluable later in the week. These included correct posture, methods of different controlled turns such as plough turning and the plough parallel turns and at the end of the expedition the pay-off was clear as everybody achieved a Ski Foundation Level 1 qualification. Somebody should however remind WO2 McDougall that just because the lifts run from 0830 until 1645 everyday it is not compulsory to use them every day. The remainder of the course was spent learning many skills which some of us, including the more adventurous, would not have believed possible and there were some real heroes who progressed way beyond their wildest dreams. There were many memorable moments during the week but what sticks in most peoples’ minds must be the first time we got to the top of La Grande Motte. We travelled via a train in a tunnel, when the weather was at its best, and this was an experience none of us are likely to forget; the icing on the cake was that we actually got to ski off this monster which is an achievement of the highest order.

The week ended and we had a traditional group meal organised by SSgt Jo (Knees) Burton and friends, where rewards were given and some speeches made by the instructors. This is where all 4 groups got together for one last time swapping stories of incredible bravery, skill, cunning and jumps taken at warp speed of which probably only a tiny percentage had any semblance of truth in them. There are of course many more stories to tell but I only have limited space. I will finish though by endorsing the trip and the area; if you’ve never skied before, there or anyway, then make sure that you volunteer when the chance arises. It was a fantastic opportunity for which everyone was truly grateful; our thanks go out to all of the instructors and all of those who planned the trip.

159 Supply Regiment's skiing team in front of some snowy mountains in France.

Colin Francis

Lt Col CJ Francis MBE
Commanding Officer


Welcome to this, the second edition of the Barbarian Blog. Having visited most sub-unit locations since the first edition it is great to hear that it has been well received. As you will see, this edition will confirm that we continue to be a leading, dynamic Regiment conducting a myriad of activities and tasks that you have either participated in or have been responsible for. You should all, rightly, remain proud of the significant achievements we, collectively, continue to deliver.

Op HERRICK 17 Medal Parade

123 Sqn hosted a Regtl Medal Parade for the 17 individuals from 123, 237 and 243 Sqns that deployed on Op HERRICK 17, in addition 2 VRSMs and a clasp were also awarded. A GOC Theatre Troops commendation for outstanding service was also presented to one of our long standing Civil Servants, Mr Martin Pointon, the Regt’s service funds accountant. Quite a haul! Colonel Thurgood, the Garrison Commander at Bicester and a strong advocate of the Reservists, took the parade and presented the medals and commendation. His address to the 90 members of the Regt on parade, and the 60 families and friends assembled in the audience, was both thought provoking and inspiring, and warmly welcomed by the medal recipients and their family and friends. A superb curry supper, prepared and served by our excellent culinary team, SSgts Norton and Morris. A big thanks to Captain Terry Speak and his team at 123 Sqn, for putting on a magnificent event, thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.


We have news from the Front!! Our soldiers currently attached to 9 Theatre Logistic Group (TLG) on Op HERRICK 18 are now in the final weeks of their tour. Planning for their recovery, normalisation and medal parade is now in hand. We continue to receive regular updates from CO 9 TLG about Op HERRICK 18 with positive comments of how well the troops are doing and how they are adding value to the operation. As you will all be aware, our boys and girls are all assigned to either the General Support Squadron (Ammunition Troop and Materiel Troop) or the Reverse Supply Chain Squadron (RV Troop). In the most recent update, Lt Williams has been specifically mentioned in dispatches as the RV Tp Comd, a small extract of which is below:

“RV Tp has been extremely busy over the past six weeks with a large influx of stores. The dispersal of the Troop has been a challenge but Lt Williams has ensured the whole troop is working hard to maintain the vital link the RV Troop provides. Lt Williams is relishing his opportunity to command on an operational tour and is clearly learning all that he can. With the release of the White Paper on the Army Reserves Lt Williams is extremely positive about his future within the Army Reserves and recently briefed all of the soldiers within the RSC Sqn.”

Well done to Lt Williams and the rest of the team who are all making such a valuable, and significant contribution to the effort being made by 9 TLG as a whole. In the meantime we are liaising with 27 TLG who have now welcomed into their fold our troops that have mobilised for HERRICK 19, and who are currently enjoying some pre tour leave. They deploy in October after they have completed their Mission Rehearsal Exercise in September. Their number includes Pte Sonya Doddrell, who will be joining her son Pte Mark Doddrell, a regular serving with 27 TLR on the deployment. As you might expect this has attracted interest from both regional and national media, so watch out for the stories!!


An update to Op FORTIFY, the Army’s Regular and Reserve Recruiting effort has just been issued, which focuses attention on the activity that will be needed to ensure that our recruiting effort is properly resourced and supported. We have now been paired with 7 Regt RLC, who will be providing us with a small Regimental Support Team to aid us in this high profile recruiting campaign, which will focus much of our activity over the coming months. No doubt some of you will find yourselves working alongside them, please make them welcome and look after them whilst they are on our patch.

In the meantime we will also be revisiting our own recruiting plan, in order to refresh it and make it more relevant, following the announcement of FR20 and the implementation of Op FORTFY. I am pleased to report that we are to some degree ahead of the game, following the implementation of our own Op BARBARIAN SURGE 13 (BS13). The surge Op, as expected, slowed down during the leave period, but is being re-energised and is on target. So far the total number of contacts resulting from BS13 has increased to 65, the key now is to turn those contacts into on-line applications. As we move into the Further Education arena and the Job Centres in the Autumn it is envisaged that our contact base will increase further. This successful model will be replicated in 123 Sqn from mid September and be expanded across the Regt thereafter.

Whilst problems remain with the smooth flow of the recruiting pipeline, progress is now slowly being made. We know that additional staff have been recruited by CAPITA and there are now separate teams dealing with both the legacy applications and the new ones. Although slow to start we are now beginning to see some applicants filter through the system. New applications are being processed quickly, with some successful candidates being loaded onto TSC A/B within weeks (rather than months) of applications being submitted on-line. Problems do however remain and frustrations remain, we must however remain positive and keep the effort going. The challenge to us remains the same, to attract new recruits, and to ensure that we provide mentoring and support to those in the system waiting to complete Phase 1 training; a responsibility that applies to us all.


Whilst training across the Regiment took a natural pause over the summer this period, we did however conduct a HERRICK weekend of training which included administrative checks, fitness and weapon handling tests. The most recent HERRICK and MATTs weekend was a resounding success with good attendance levels across the Regt and some very pleasing results.

The new Commander 102 Logistic Brigade, Brigadier D Amison OBE also visited us in Swynnerton. The visit was a resounding success and the Commander left the Regt hugely impressed with the dedication, commitment and professionalism he witnessed not just over the course of his visit but also from the tales and conversations he had with many of you – well done.


Many of you will already be aware that the Regiment has re-launched its Twitter account - @159SupRegt. From the feed you will get updates on events planned, happening and happened as well as some key messaging and opinion from within the Regiment and Brigade. Please follow us and get in touch with your views about what is sent and what you would like to see sent.

I also need your help. We need to get better at capturing our training on camera in order that we can show-off what we do. Not only will it help encourage participation from those already in the Reserves, but it will also help with our recruiting effort. Army Facebook and Twitter sites have been established across the country at regional level, and I am keen that our activities are uploaded onto these sites, for people to see and comment on. I would ask that you pass on any photos and comments you might have on training activities and sporting events that you participate in to your Sqn PSIs, who will ensure that they are passed to the site administrators for uploading. We have so much to be proud of and that message can be passed very quickly with your help.

News from around the Patch

123 Sqn (Telford) - Hosted the Regtl Medal Parade on 31 Aug, which saw 150 regimental personnel, family and friends gather at their TAC in Telford, to present 17 Op HERRICK 17 medals, 2 VRSMs and a clasp and a GOC Theatre Tps commendation. The last month also saw them victorious in the majority of the events that took place during the CO’s Trophy weekend in Tynemouth, and they also provided the full compliment to represent the Regiment in the RLC ‘Corps Weekend’ tug o War competition, where they were beaten in the final. Another great effort! The Sqn also completed a very successful soldier first weekend in Sennybridge, and hosted a Families’ Fun Day to mark the return of their HERRICK 17 contingent, over 85 attended the event.

125 Sqn (Glasgow) - On 7th Aug the Sqn hosted 144 Para Med Sqn, the first of several local units who have been invited to come along and give a presentation on their role and what vacancies they have available for 125 Sqn personnel to consider as an option to transfer when the Sqn disbands at the end of next year.  The team from 144 Sqn gave an excellent presentation, and some of the younger, fitter members of 125 Sqn showed a lot of interest in what was on offer. In Sep, 102 Fd Sqn RE, 32 Sig Regt and 207 Bty RA will be visiting to give similar presentations. Hopefully this will give the Sqn personnel some idea about moving on when the time comes.

The Sqn enjoyed a fantastic AT weekend at Rothiemurchus Lodge, Aviemore on 16-18 Aug 13.  The accommodation was paid for by Lowland RFCA, and an arduous day was had on Saturday in the Cairngorms, led by SSgt Dave Johnston.  On the Sunday the weather was not as conducive to hill walking, so plan B was invoked, and the Sqn visited the historic battlefield of "Killiekrankie" and the famous "Soldier's Leap". 

216 Sqn (Tynemouth) - 5 members of the Sqn joined in with the Regulars on a Mountain Bike Training Day near Catterick which was a huge success and has increased interest from other members of the Sqn.  This was followed on by a Mountain Bike Adv Trg weekend in the Lake District led by the OC, Maj Drennan.  The rain was torrential throughout the weekend but this appeared to add to the sense of achievement and enjoyment from those taking part.  Maj Drennan and Cpl Anderson also assisted with the Cheviot Challenge, and entered, the Great North Bike Ride alongside Officers from Theatre Troops.  SSgt Ross, along with other members of the Sqn, took part in the RLC Six a Side competition where 159 Sup Regt RLC were runners up in the competition.  WO2 Carrielies and his recruiting team continue to get potential recruits through the door and have worked hard to keep them interested whilst they go through the recruiting process. Three personnel have recently been loaded onto the Class 3 cse and hope to deploy on H19.1 with other members of the Sqn. 

237 Sqn (West Brom) - Maj David Paget has taken over as OC 237 Sqn, and WO2 Bandwood as SSM. Sgt Gentry has returned from ATU (WM) and has taken over A (HERRICK) Tp and has immediately started training for H20A. Congratulations to SSgt Coley, who is now ETL trained to better support fitness training. Congratulations too, to Pte’s Pleadon and Roberts who have both have passed TSC(B) and can finally move out of Recruits Tp, into A Tp, and to Pte O’Brien who has passed his LSS Cl 3 course. Well done to all on their various endeavours.

243 Sqn (Coventry) - This has been a very quiet period in terms of activity and attendance as the PSI has been on leave along with the rest of the world. Despite this the Sqn have continued to be active in the world of recruiting and had their first potential recruits walk through the door from the NRC, a positive step.  They have also started to get walk-ins again, and are looking forward to a surge in numbers again shortly.  Interest has also been expressed by some ex Regulars, with enquiries from 2 x WOs and 1 x SSgt, including a previous RSM. An improvement in applications and vacancies for LSS courses, with a number attending both Class 3 and Class 2 courses also gives cause for small celebration. Finally Capt Cox the PSAO organised and attended a charity fishing match at Wolvey in Leicestershire, raising £1012 for H4H, a superb effort that also saw the record broken for total weight caught, 700 kgs caught by 19 anglers!

381 Sqn (Lancaster) - WO2 Ross MacDougall (ex RAPTC) has embarked upon an intensive programme to improve everyone’s fitness in the Sqn. To support him, Pte Morrissey has attended and passed his PTI course. Ptes Tosh and Edgar have also just passed an ETL course at Altcar. This places the Sqn well for adhering to the Regtl PD Directive, and raising the overall fitness levels within the Sqn. As this goes to press LCPL Standring and Cluney are attending their Class 2 LSS Course and Pte Holden his PNCO course.

Finally a few congratulations are in order:

Congratulations to our footballers. The RLC TA Sixes took place on 31 Aug and 1 Sep in Grantham, with the Regiment entering three teams into the competition, which was in itself is a great effort, for which I offer my heartfelt thanks. Although we failed to bring the trophy home, we did reach the final, beating the tournament favourites, 156 Tpt Regt from Liverpool 3-2 in the semi final, only to lose 2-0 to 152 Tpt Regt from Belfast. This is another fantastic achievement that once again highlights the talent to be found within the Regiment. Well done to all those that took part and helped prepare the teams.

Well done also to the Regimental (123 Sqn) Tug of War team in their sterling performance at the Corps Day. They were only beaten by the reigning Army Champions in the final.

A final well done to WO2 Christman and the Regiment’s Nijmegan Marches’ team. A truly herculean effort for some people to come through the competition and even more so given the limited training time afforded to a Reserve unit. All of the team can be truly proud of what they achieved.

Colin Francis

Lt Col CJ Francis MBE
Commanding Officer


This is the first issue of the Barbarian Blog, which I intend to produce on a regular basis. Its purpose is to keep you all informed of what is going on in and around the Regiment, reflecting on what has happened in the past, and looking forward over the next few months. I hope you find it informative, and see it as a useful addition to our efforts to improve communication throughout the Regiment. I hope to be able to have this blog available for you to view and comment on online, and will get my techno Jedi (Carl) to work on that for me. In the meantime if there is anything you feel you would like to see included, feel free to let me know.


So how good was the ADE? We had an excellent 2 weeks in Germany, with over 170 of you attending, an excellent turnout. For those of you that went, many of you will have been aware of the visits that we had from various VIPs, all of whom commented on your enthusiasm and professionalism. My thanks to you all for attending and more importantly gaining as much out of it that you very obviously did. In particular I would like to extend my thanks to all of the enablers, from our permanent staff team to all of the training delivery and life support elements. Without their efforts, the ADE would not have been the success it was. For those of you fortunate enough to attend the Adventure Training packages, I hope you felt suitably challenged, and physically tested. Congratulations to those selected for Op HERRICK 19, another strong cohort, and the Regiment’s best wishes go with you for the duration of the deployment. For the PNCOs amongst you, well done! There is an excellent article in the June 13 edition of Sixth Sense focussing on our ADE, which is doing the rounds. I commend it to you. Have a read!!


So what have we been up to in the last four weeks, since our return from Germany? Well we have successfully mobilised the Op HERRICK 19 cohort, who also completed the RTMC final selection phase intact; very well done to them all, and we wish them well on their forthcoming tour. More about them in future issues. The Op HERRICK 18 cohort has passed the half way point of their tour – where does the time go? – and I am receiving rave reviews about their contribution. The operational pedigree of the Regiment continues to grow and with it our standing across the British Army. We have also just held the first weekend of the Op HERRICK 20 deployment, the numbers are encouraging but we have capacity for more to join so speak to your PSIs.


Many of us have been focussed (and some consumed) by dealing with the initial frictions encountered with the new recruiting process. With the Recruiting Partnership Project (RPP) now 3 months old it is clear that there is some distance to go before it is as smooth as we would like. I believe that these issues are specifically due to the IT restrictions currently faced by our Partner, CAPITA, and with the 50,000 legacy applications that exist on the recruiting programme we handed over to them. I am reassured that these are being addressed, and additional staff have been recruited and drafted in to ‘fight through’ the backlog. These problems will in time therefore be overcome, in the meantime, our challenge is not only to attract new recruits, but more importantly to ensure that we provide mentoring and support to those in the system waiting to complete Phase 1 training. You all have a role to play in this, and I would ask you all to ensure that you actively engage with potential recruits that attend training in your TACs, giving them as much advice, support and encouragement that you can muster.

From a Regimental perspective, we have launched a new initiative, BARBARIAN SURGE, where we are directing resources to target specific areas. At the moment this is focussed upon 237 Sqn in West Bromwich. The early signs are encouraging and the initial successes have proved its worth. We mustn’t rest on our laurels as we still have some way to go to meet our own challenging self imposed recruiting targets but also the aspiration to get a lot closer to the 100% manning prescribed in the A2020 proposal.

Force Development

The Regtl 2IC, Training Major, OC 381 and myself have all been engaged in Force Development activity. This is important work, as it is helping to shape our future role and concept of employment within the Adaptable Force structures. As one of 2 Reservist Supply Regiments in the Army’s Order of Battle, we will have a key role, training, and force generating collective Supply Force Elements for attachment to Regular Units in support of National Defence interests.


On the training front, we have been involved in Ex MUSHROOM HORIZON, a pilot Regular/Reserve integration exercise, where a small Supply section was attached to 4 LSR, exercising on Salisbury Plain, helping to prepare them for their deployment to BATUS. Whilst on this occasion we will not be sending anybody over to BATUS with 4LSR, there is likely to be opportunity in the future.

A cohort from 243 Sqn, deployed on a short 3 day exercise, Ex TRITON, a UK operations resilience exercise that took place in the West Midlands. During the course of the exercise 143 (WM) Bde tested their ability to force generate troops through a Forward Mounting Base, before releasing them to support specific tasks, under the direction of lead civilian agencies. On this occasion, the scenario was severe flash flooding, and our troops were tasked to support the Environmental Agency, by constructing flood defences around a vulnerable site, and then later were directed to support the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Services in search tasks. Those who took part enjoyed the experience and felt it a worthwhile exercise and something they would do again. Once again, this sort of activity is likely to increase as nationally we look more towards defence activities on the UK mainland.

And finally….

My round robin trip to each of your locations to explain the FR20 implications to you as individuals and the Regiment as a whole is now in the closing stages. The Implementation Order will follow in early September. You will all be aware that we have been affected by the announcement, with both 216 and 381 Sqn’s being re-subordinated to other Regiments and 125 Sqn being removed from the Order of Battle. My priority will be ensuring that our people are properly and sensitively managed, particularly where we are losing people, and making certain that they are looked after. During all of the restructuring that will take place, we must not forget that we continue to have a commitment to Op HERRICK up until the end of 2014, and you will all continue to have a part to play in force generating and training volunteers drawn from across the existing regimental structure during that time. More on this will follow in later editions.

A lengthy first edition which I promise I won’t repeat in future iterations. I would welcome your feedback, and as stated at the beginning, I intend to have this posted online, so that it is accessible to you at home. Please do offer suggestions on what you might like me to blog about in future.

Colin Francis

Lt Col CJ Francis MBE
Commanding Officer