Soldiers tested to work with regulars

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Army reservists from Sheffield tested their construction skills in a two day exercise where they had to build a water tower from scratch to provide an emergency supply to frontline troops.

The 47 reserve soldiers, all members of 106 Field Squadron, based at Bailey Barracks, Greenhill, had to construct the water tower in case they are ever called upon to deliver drinking water to soldiers in battle if other supplies are contaminated.

Senior Instructor Warrant Officer Alex Benn said the soldiers had to source water, purify it and then deliver it to frontline troops in the battlefield scenario.

“This exercise means we are doing exactly the same training as the regulars so that we can now simply bolt on to them without any hindrance,” he said.

“We can backfill with reserves because we have done exactly same as the regulars and create a perfect match.”

He said being attached to the 21 Engineer Regiment, made up of regular soldiers, in Ripon, North Yorkshire, allows his squadron to take advantage of their facilities.

The reservists have already completed bridge-building, field fortification and demolition exercises to prepare them should they ever be called to serve their country.

Staff Sergeant Gary Reynolds, aged 40, who joined the Sheffield-based reservists after 23 years in the regular army, said: “There is a financial incentive to do so but the most important thing for me was it was a way of keeping the lifestyle. I enjoyed being in the Army and it is good to keep that Army mentality.

“It’s great to see how everyone can work together so that we can seamlessly work with the regulars.”

Lance Corporal Damien Williams, 36, who is a housing association team leader and has been a reservist for 18 years, said: “It is weekends like this when we gain invaluable experience so that we can adopt all the procedures the regulars use so that we can operate with them operationally.”