Page 22 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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                                      innovation but not hindering discipline. This, his experience in Exeter UOTC and his enjoyment of being in the field convinced him that the Infantry and The Rifles were the only choice for him. Jack was commissioned into 5 RIFLES.
2Lt JA Cox. Jon Cox was convinced very early that there would be no other suitable career for him than the British Army. He was born in Plymouth to West Country parents, and spent his youth in Devon. He attended Hele’s School, where he was an Army Cadet in the CCF, affording him the opportunity to complete the Ten Tors Challenge in 4 successive years - which confirmed his passion for mountaineering. He also played rugby for the School team, for 7 years for his local club, Plymstock Albion Oaks RFC, and subse- quently for Sandhurst.
He made a last-minute decision for Higher Education and applied successfully to read Chemistry at Plymouth University. In his second-year summer exercise with the UOTC he was Platoon Commander for the final attack, and this single experience cemented his ambition to join the Infantry. He was promoted in his third year at EUOTC.
After University, Jon joined 6 RIFLES, first enjoying two weeks basic training at ITC Catterick. He was part of the Battalion’s Cambrian Patrol team, but became a casualty after being knocked out by four Bowman batteries in the top flap of his Bergen – a serious learning experience. Jon continued mountaineering and climbing with expeditions in Bavaria, Georgia, and the Dolomites, and discovered skiing in the Alps and the Cairngorms. He learned sailing in the South Baltic - probably the furthest he’d been pushed outside his comfort zone, on a small boat, with no land in sight and waves crashing over the gunwales. His gentler hobbies focus on food and wine: he is a keen cook, and uses this as a driver to go rod- or spear-fishing, or laying lobster pots on the south Devon coast, later to cook the catch with friends and family. Jon was commissioned into 3 RIFLES.
2Lt JMW Heath. John is from Cambridge. He read Economics and Politics at the University of Bath, then spent a year working as a lobbyist. The challenges of the Army had always held an interest for him, however. The opportunity to serve and the satisfaction that can bring were strongly appealing. A trigger to join came in 2017, when his oldest and closest friend was killed in a mountaineering accident. It was a wake-up call to do something worthwhile with his life.
With no military experience before Sandhurst, he found the initial shock of capture particularly challenging. From that low point he worked hard to catch up and become judged the most improved cadet in his platoon. As he progressed through the Commissioning Course it played more to his natural strengths; he got top academic results; he organised and chaired a Sandhurst debate night on President Trump and Brexit. A high point of his term in Juniors was taking an Intermediates’ adventure training sailing expedition in Portsmouth, using his Day Skipper qualification.
Although ostensibly at peace, it is still a fascinating time to be joining the army. John sees a commission in The Rifles as a chance, amongst many other things, to apply his existing analytical and practical skills in a military context. He also sees the ability and competence of Riflemen at all levels as increasingly important in the era of the ‘strategic corporal’, where the actions of any individual in the British Army could conceivably have global ramifications - an uncertain and volatile security environment creates many opportu- nities for a junior officer. At Sandhurst, John was in the Sovereign’s Platoon, and was promoted to JUO at the end of his Seniors Term. He was commissioned into 1 RIFLES.
2Lt FM James. Freddie grew up in Ealing. Some of his fondest early memories are of the trust that the Scouts placed in a ten-year-old (with felling axes, oil drum fires, and with ensuring the safety and wellbeing of his patrol mates). This taught him how people often react well when given responsibility. At school, the commitment of teachers fired his enthusiasm for political and military history. What they were teaching mattered to him: understanding the past influ- ences our ability to shape the future.
After Scouts, Freddie joined 203 Brentford ACF. He was chosen through a nationwide selection for a Kenya trip for community projects and to climb Mount Kenya. In 2015, he won an award of £500 from the Mark Evison Foundation to plan and lead a 3-day cycling expedition 453 km from London to Paris, in memory of the 453 Service Personnel who had lost their lives up to that point in Afghanistan. Leading five inexperienced 16-year olds through such a gruelling ride was extremely challenging but also rewarding, and it cemented his ambition to become a leader in the Army. He subsequently volunteered for the same charity, delivering talks and workshops at London schools, encouraging thousands of young people to attempt similar challenges.
Freddie packed a lot into the two years between leaving school and starting at Sandhurst. He tried Hull University for a year, where he played first team rugby, joined the UOTC, and starred in the drama society’s play of the year. However, deferring to his ultimate aims, he left university to apply for Sandhurst. Whilst doing this, he worked on a golf course, ran the top whisky bar in the Channel Islands (on Sark), toured India by rail and trained for a month at a Muay Thai Boxing Gym in Thailand. Freddie commissioned into 3 RIFLES.
2Lt HJE Harry went to Marlborough College, where he was appointed captain of a rugby team, Head of House and School Prefect. These were all useful early tests of leadership. After school he went to Exeter University to read English Literature and Film Studies. He always kept fit whilst at Exeter, boxing twice in front of the university. He got his degree, earning a Dean’s Commendation in the process, but had actually spent much of his time co-founding his family charity, robbiesrally. He is passionate about this cause, in memory of his mother and younger brother Robbie who had both died during his time at school and university. The charity has taught him many lessons. In order to raise money for the extremely ill people he visited in hospital, in his first year at university he kayaked the length of England. The following summer he and his father ran 10 marathons in 10 consecutive days. From Sandhurst, and with the Commandant’s express support, he and fellow Rifleman Jon Cox led a group of their peers on a pre-dawn run from Camberley down to the South coast, raising yet more funding. As a founder of the charity, he often speaks publicly about their work for specialist hospitals. After university, he also went to work on a sheep station in Queensland Australia, learning many great life skills from this arduous experience. In his final term at Sandhurst, Harry was awarded the Maj Gen DM Chand prize for demonstrating outstanding innovation and purpose. He commissioned into 2 RIFLES.
2Lt F Montane-Willis. Freddie was born in Reus, Spain, to Catalan and English parents. He spent his early years there before moving to the UK where he attended The Skinners’ Grammar School in Tunbridge Wells. He was an avid rugby player: fullback for the starting XV and later for Tunbridge Wells Town 1st XV, before switching to rugby league. He later took up boxing at University.
To fund a Gap Year, Freddie worked as a charity fundraising Team Leader, for Worldwide Fund for Nature and NSPCC – heading a
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