Band reunited

First published in Forces focus by

USING everything from rifles to rockets, soldiers experienced the entire spectrum of operational training while on a recent exercise on Salisbury Plain.

The troops from 4th Regiment Royal Artillery recently completed a twoweek firing camp after returning from a third tour of Afghanistan last April.

More than 300 soldiers from the regiment were put through their paces on a number of training activities ranging from practising with small arms ranges to their core business – firing artillery.

The varied training also included urban operations, casualty evacuation and a march and shoot competition.

Exercise Sunderland Dagger, which included two gun batteries using the 105mm Light Gun, gave the soldiers the opportunity to prove they are ready to carry out their role within the Army’s Adaptable Force, which requires them to be prepared for the full range of operations from peace-keeping through to conventional high tempo warfare.

Also exercising on the Plain were troops from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, who have been on Exercise Urban Eagle as they prepare to become the British Army’s global rapid reaction force.

The week-long training was designed to refresh the paratroopers’ key skills of fighting in built-up areas and dealing with public disturbances.

Urban skills saw the Colchester-based soldiers start at the basics of clearing enemy from individual rooms, working up to company attacks to capture the mock village at Copehill Down, building-by-building and street-by-street.

THE Royal Artillery Band has called Woolwich in south-east London “home” for more than 250 years.

In that time the army has grown and shrunk countless times.

The Royal Artillery Regiment left Woolwich in 2007 and now, under new restructuring of Army Music, the band is being reunited with the regiment in Tidworth. The Royal Artillery Band was formed in 1762, in the midst of the Seven Years War, in Minden, Germany, and returned with the Royal Artillery parent unit to their headquarters in Woolwich the following year.

Now part of the Corps of Army Music, the band also has the oldest orchestra in the UK – far older than the London Philharmonic.

From Tidworth the band will be better able to support its regiment and, indeed, the wider army.

But the orchestral heritage is far from lost. Six members of the current Royal Artillery Band will remain in Woolwich to form the foundations of a new Corps of Army Music String Orchestra.

This move will mean that seven of the army’s bands will be located on or near Salisbury, The Royal Artillery and Prince of Wales’s Division at Tidworth, Rifles and Adjutant Generals Corps at Winchester, Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop, Royal Signals at Blandford and the Light Cavalry at Bovington.


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