This week, 124 recruits marched onto the parade square at the British Army’s Training Centre at Pirbright, the first to do so since lockdown started.
The British Army say that an hour later they proudly marched off as the first batch of soldiers to be welcomed into the British Army since the coronavirus lockdown.
According to a news release from the British Army:
“Their journey to become a soldier started back in the first week of 2020 when they arrived at the gates to the Army Training Centre on a cold January morning to commence their phase one training. Phase One takes an individual and teaches them to become a basic soldier, The Common Military Syllabus provides the building blocks on which a career in the military can flourish. Usually fourteen weeks later, that individual would be stood on the same parade square in front of their family and loved ones amidst the pomp and ceremony of their passing out as a soldier of the British Army. However, for this intake, COVID-19 would radically alter their experience and as the Army gradually works to get back to some sense of normality it would, in fact, be into a surreal veneer of a normality that these new soldiers would march.
Halfway through their training the pandemic took hold and in line with the rest of the country the Army was told to go home and stay there. So, for seven weeks these recruits embarked on a virtual training regime with subjects such as battlefield casualty drills and values, standards and qualities of a British soldier taught through video conferencing. Physical fitness was maintained and developed with the use of exercise apps with platoons forming their own online groupings and Army physical training instructors setting the targets. It wasn’t until 7th May that they were gradually called back to barracks in a carefully orchestrated phased return. On arriving back each was handed a blue armband to wear for a 14-day period denoting they were newly arrived back yet displaying no symptoms. An amber band would show that person may have potentially been in contact with the virus and red, the wearer was displaying symptoms and in isolation. If after the 14 days they were clear, then blue turned to green.”
Earlier in the month, we reported that the British Army were to resume training. As part of the national response to Coronavirus, the British Army suspended most training activity in March.
The Army however say they have now commenced the phased re-start of training across its training establishments, having ensured they are equipped and ready to begin training soldiers again.