WHEN not practising clearing minefields and launching armoured bridges on Salisbury Plain, soldiers from 26 Engineer Regiment turned to the River Avon to produce drinking water.

Some 130 soldiers from 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, part of the Perham Down-based regiment, took part in Exercise Zulu Run - their final preparation before deployment on a larger exercise in Canada later in the year.

The troops spent two weeks on the plain, carrying out a range of training activities. They prepared non-equipment bridges, which can be used to assist civilian evacuations from battle areas.

Soldiers also produced drinking water from the River Avon, a technique they can use in a real life situations to provide water for friendly troops and civilians.

The training culminated in a week-long test exercise designed to validate the squadron’s training competence.

Exercise Zulu Run, which included 40 heavy, light and wheeled vehicles, gave the soldiers the opportunity to prove that they are ready to carry out their role in Canada. There, they will be preparing for their role as the lead armoured engineer squadron, part of the army’s Lead Armoured Battle Group.

This demanding 40-day exercise will test the squadron’s ability to work with infantry, armour and artillery as part of the army’s lead armoured capability.

Lt Col Joe Fossey, commanding officer of 26 Engineer Regiment, said: “Salisbury Plain is an ideal area in which to train and test an armoured engineer squadron. Widely accessible, it allows engineer squadrons to generate tempo and momentum by repeatedly practising mobility and survivability techniques. This training area provides my squadrons with an unparalleled opportunity to increase their collective armoured engineer expertise and allow a degree of innovation as we test new capabilities such as Terrier in novel ways.”