Page 27 - Chiron Spring 2018
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work that the trainer needed doing. This could be laying tracks for Tracker (Tkr), dog training or hiding weapons and etc. for the Arms Explosive Search (AES), dog training.
It was the WRAC who were tasked with the guard duties in the kennels from 16.30hrs to 07.30hrs ish the following morning. Two girls would carry out this overnight duty, and they were responsible for the security of all of the dog school area, including a mock up village at the top of the dog school. For the duty we had to go out and walk the perimeter a few times all through the night, ensuring all was good and the dogs were safe and in their kennels, a noisy time indeed, and if one dog barked the rest followed suit. In the morning all the feeds had to be prepared for every dog in the kennels, including any special diets and any routine dietary veterinary requirements that had to be carried out. This always proved to be a task and a half. It was then back to top camp for shower/wash, breakfast and a quick change of clothing and then back to dog school for the day’s work.
The importance of kennel maids often proved beneficial for the dogs health. They would be with the dogs all day looking after them, grooming them and exercising them, they really got to know their ways and often knew before the trainer if a dog was not in the best of health. On one occasion I remember
having a heated discussion a dog trainer on specialist dog line, he wanted to use a particular dog but I told him that the dog was unwell, he disagreed with me and refused to let me take the dog to the Vet Hospital and threatened to put me on a charge for preventing him doing his work? Rightfully or wrongfully I did take matters into my own hands, whilst he was occupied elsewhere I did take the dog to the vet. I can’t remember what was actually wrong with the dog now but they kept the dog in vet hospital for a few days until it recovered, the said trainer was not happy with me but I stood my ground and he had to back down, I don’t think he was
"The importance of kennel maids often proved beneficial for the dogs health"
best pleased with me as he had lost face, but the girls were often a lot closer to the dogs, and at times only had the dogs welfare and health in their minds they did so much more looking after them that they noticed things that the trainer may miss, basically they got to know their charges inside and out.
Fitness was important for all ranks; we were given the opportunity to take part in a lot of sport. We had a unit netball team
which we used to play against local teams and a unit rounders team. The men had to do annual Basic Fitness Tests (BFT`s) but I don’t remember the girls having to do that in those days. We did cross country runs etc. with the rest of the unit during the weekly sports afternoon. There was also an annual WRAC -v- RAVC sports competition, this was fun and could be cricket, football, rounders or any other team sport, the WRAC usually won due to the slightly devious tactics that they adopted.
We did have some perks too which meant though I had become a kennel maid and not a rider groom I was still able to keep up my love of horse riding, we were able to ride work detail (help exercise horses), on a Saturday morning at the stables, if you had a day off from the kennels. As a keen rider riding the cavalry blacks was like a dream come true, I was still hoping to be able to swap jobs but these positions didn’t come up very often. So, by now I had decided to stay with the dogs and I am glad I did, my army training stood me in good stead for future civilian jobs. And more importantly I met my future husband. I did love my time at MM and would highly recommend it to anyone especially now that the RAVC have female RAVC soldiers who do the dog training too. If someone asked me would I go back and do it all again? You bet I would.
   Joan Hart’s 100th Birthday Ride
By WO2 Powell – Chief Instructor Equine Training Squadron
 In early January Equine Training Squadron were tasked with providing some horses and riders to take part in a celebration for Joan’s birthday.
After seeing some soldiers riding past her house, Joan wrote a letter to the DATR saying how nice it was to see the soldiers and horses riding past daily, and how it reminded her of when she was little and her father worked in the camp. Joan stated that it was her father who used to write all the signs for the horses as his handwriting was so neat.
On finding this out RSM (Stuart) Rowles invited Joan for a visit to have a look around DATR, it was then that the RSM found out that Joan was turning 100 early in the New Year.
It was decided that we would as a unit try to facilitate something, WO2 (Dan) Powell was tasked with providing as many riders and horses as possible and a cake was purchased, WO2 Powell and Sgt (Lisa) Leighton utilised the numbers of the RRI course and nine horses and riders made their way to Joan’s House.
On arriving they were met by RSM Rowles and SSgt (Ben) Moore who presented Joan her cake and sang her
happy birthday, she was overcome with emotion and was so thankful for all that we had done for her.
On the day BFBS and Midlands news and local newspapers covered the story,
this was greatly received by the local community.
All who were involved in this for Joan found it very rewarding to be a part of her birthday celebrations.

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