Page 105 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 105

Every year D company conducts an endurance event to test the physical and mental endurance of its soldiers; in 2018 the location for the event was Hadrian’s Wall in the North of England, with platoons covering 24 miles carrying 25kg over two days. Starting in Bellingham, we took the opportunity to engage with the local children at Bellingham Middle School with a presentation and weapon stands. The head and other teachers were enthusiastic about this and welcomed our interaction with the children. We took a variety of weapons and equipment for the children to try on and hold. One of the biggest interests was between our female medic, LCpl Parsons, and the girls who were impressed to see her carrying similar weights and wearing the same kit as the men.
Leaving the school, we returned to the company and moved the platoons, one by one, to the start point on the Pennine Way and conducted a brisk warm up with the PTIs before setting off. The route was picturesque, with rolling hills providing a stern test of morale, but showing the best of British countryside and farmland. One of the teams even arrived carrying freshly picked apples which a farmer had given them along the route. As the course was predominantly cross-country it good practical navigation training for many of the men. The first day finished at Housestead Roman fort - this is one of the most complete locations along the wall and we had secured a place to pitch tents with permission from the National Trust and local landowner. The presence of uniformed soldiers and the obligatory black D Company flags had gathered some interest from members of the public; asking questions and showing support by clapping the Riflemen across the finish line.
The next morning the Riflemen had the oppor- tunity to walk the grounds of the fort and visit the museum free of charge. The walk back to the top
Top of the hill!
of the hill was met by a few moans and groans but the Dogs were generally in high spirits. They found the museum interesting and as one of the company remarked “just shows squaddies have been getting cold and wet up here for centuries, not just us”; a nod to the distinct change in weather to the previous day. Setting off on the second day the route followed the remainder of Hadrian’s Wall; the path was firmer underfoot but with short sharp rises and drops to test the legs. The platoons all stopped for a photo at ‘the Sycamore Gap’ (a location made famous by the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) before we arrived at the finish point in a small village called Gilsland. The course was tough and it was a remarkable achievement that everyone who started also finished. The winners were 14 Platoon with a time of 8 hours 19min, with the other two platoons coming in under the 9-hour mark. After a change and freshen up, the guys enjoyed a nice cold pint and good food while waiting for transport at the local inn.
The whole event was a success with the Riflemen enjoying the physical challenge, seeing an unusual and beautiful area of the country, engaging with the local community and showing off The Rifles brand to the wider public. I wonder where we will go for 2019?
Sjt Abraham, D Coy, 5 RIFLES
        Ypres Battlefield Tour
5 RIFLES conducted a 4-day Battlefield study in the region of northern France and Belgium centred around Ypres (Wipers) and concentrated on the antecedent units that make The Rifles who they are today. The study was planned and executed by Sjt Marsh and Sjt Moore in record time, from initial idea to completion in exactly four weeks, which included a comprehensive and insightful pre-study day. 28 members from across the battalion participated, including members of the REME and AGC, all of whom found the study interesting and developed them all in some way.
The study had been planned and orchestrated to cater for all learner styles with activities including SME presentations, hands-on the weapon systems of the era, a theatrical play, several museums, many cemeteries and guided walks around the Ypres Salient. The theatrical play ‘Journeys End’ was produced by The MESH theatre company, the night in question being the only VIP (Invite only) event of the year.
We were very grateful to the tour guide, Maj Phil Lineham (REME), enhancing the study with extensive knowledge and methods to related history to present day tactics and scenarios. Maj Lineham commented on the dedication, enthusiasm and energy the 5 RIFLES study group, thanking every member personally.
        THE RIFLES

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