Army West Midlands

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HQ 11 Sig & WM Brigade is the Army’s regional formation in the West Midlands. We cover Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Birmingham and the Black Country providing support to serving soldiers and veterans as well as engaging with the wider community.

Operating as usual

28/04/2021

Today is International Workers’ Memorial Day, and at the Arboretum we have many memorials that remember civilian workers who have served and sacrificed for our country over the years, including during both World Wars.

The Rail Industry Memorial celebrates the magnificent achievements of all who have contributed to the development of the railways from their humble beginnings in the nineteenth century through to the present day. It also remembers the many thousands of railway workers who have given their lives in times of conflict and peace.

The striking memorial was commissioned by the British Transport Pensioners Association and features a Class 8f locomotive carved from matt black granite. The locomotive was originally designed in 1935 by William Stanier for the London Midland and Scottish Railway and they were built between 1935 and 1946. #IWMD21 #OurEverydayHeroes

An Army Reservist from Tamworth has been finding time to fulfil her military commitments while working as a paramedic fo...
02/04/2021

An Army Reservist from Tamworth has been finding time to fulfil her military commitments while working as a paramedic for the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Sergeant Faye Shotton, 30, went to high school in Tamworth and studied Uniformed Public Services at South Staffordshire College, Tamworth.

Faye joined the West Midlands Ambulance Service in 2010. Through the service’s student paramedic scheme she graduated from Coventry University with a Paramedic Science BSc degree.

In 2016 Faye joined the West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team, specialist paramedics trained to operate in challenging and often dangerous situations.

Before becoming a paramedic, Faye was already familiar with giving medical aid in stressful situations having joined the Army on her 17th birthday.

Faye says,

“When I joined the Army I wanted to be a combat medic. I wanted to be the first person there to help people.

“I grew up fast with the Army and learned a lot of life skills which propelled me into what I am now, working with the West Midlands Ambulance Service. I have the stresses of regular work, then I come away with the reserves and it's like a small family.”

Faye recently took part in a ten-day exercise at the Army’s Otterburn training area in Northumberland with fellow Midlands’ reservists from 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment.

Exercise Saxon Shield was designed to make sure the reservists remain at a high standard of readiness to deploy with regular units, including completing their Military Annual Training Tests.

The troops took part in a combat marksmanship test, completed navigation challenges during the day and night and, under the watchful eye of Sgt Shotton, carried out battlefield casualty evacuation drills.

Faye added,

“With the combat medic role, you have to have really good communication skills and you have to be approachable. Initial treatment of a casualty is quite nerve-racking but it becomes second nature. The training is so good you don't have to think too hard about what you need to do.”

With the Army Reserves, Faye has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Uganda and Cyprus.

She said,

“Uganda was where I had my best experience. We trained the Ugandan Defence Force for their future deployments and my role was training the nurses. We would deliver lessons and they were that grateful, they would all get together in a group and sing to us. It was just the most incredible thing.

“I've been with the Army for 14 years, and I've never regretted a second. Anyone ask me what my proudest moment is - joining the Reserves. If you want to join, I’d say go for it. It's a different life. It's a different world.”

Officialwmas
The Mercian Regiment
Mercian Regiment Army Reserves
Tamworth Herald
Tamworth Informed

Soldiers from Shropshire-based 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment marked St Patrick's Day today with a socially dist...
17/03/2021

Soldiers from Shropshire-based 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment marked St Patrick's Day today with a socially distanced shamrock presentation and a video game challenge.

March 17 has been a key date in the calendar for the Royal Irish since 1900 when Queen Victoria ordered the wearing of a shamrock by soldiers and officers.

The Regiment, which has run mobile testing units for the NHS during the pandemic, has this year had to adapt their celebrations in line with Covid Force Health Protection measures.

At their barracks at Tern Hill, near Market Drayton, 1 Royal Irish staged a socially distant shamrock presentation.

And at their regimental HQ in Belfast, Irish Wolfhound Brian Boru X, the Royal Irish's mascot, proudly displayed his shamrock.

At 7pm today the Royal Irish are inviting gamers to a special Call of Duty Warzone challenge when serving Irish Rangers will also be online to talk about life in the Regiment.

1 Royal Irish Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Tom Forrest said:

“St. Patrick’s Day is usually a great opportunity for the regimental family to gather as one and recognise the distinction and gallantry of the Irish Regiments during the relief of Ladysmith in the Boer War.

"Any opportunity to display our Irish heritage is always embraced and we look forward to hopefully connecting to reminisce together next year, over a pint of the black stuff."

Ranger Aaron Mooney, 21, from Belfast, said despite the celebrations being on a smaller scale, St Patrick's Day remains an important day for the soldiers.

Soldiers have shared their experiences of joining the frontline fight against coronavirus at UHCW University Hospitals C...
08/03/2021

Soldiers have shared their experiences of joining the frontline fight against coronavirus at UHCW University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.

The military personnel, a mix of combat medical technicians and general duties' troops, have spent six weeks providing support to staff at University Hospital in Coventry, where the world’s first vaccine was administered in December 2020.

Soldiers belonging to 5 Armoured Medical Regiment in Catterick and 1 Signal Regiment from Stafford have been supporting staff and patients, working in critical care, on Covid-19 wards, site operations and in the hospital's pharmacy.

Staff Sergeant Emma Gauntlet said,

“Seeing the virus at its worst and how quickly an individual can deteriorate is a harrowing experience.

“Caring for patients who are extremely unwell and at their most vulnerable has been humbling.

“A young man had been in for 50-plus days when we first started and the nurses were struggling to keep his temperature down.

"His mother would call every morning and evening and the nurse would hold the phone close to him so she could tell him to be strong.

“Each shift he would deteriorate until eventually he was woken up and able to communicate with staff, it was heart-warming to witness.”

Staff Sergeant David Duncan added,

“Seeing patients up close was overwhelming for the first few days.

“Another thing that has stood out for me is the age of some of the patients. Working with patients who are young and suffering from Covid-19 was a shock.

“Every day I would sit with patients so they had someone to talk to, at least for a few minutes.

“A few of the patients didn’t speak English so I found myself using Google Translate to help and make their time in hospital more comfortable."

Soldiers have helped in many ways, from moving patients to restocking PPE, cleaning, delivering samples or answering phones.

Emma and David, both from 5 Armoured Medical Regiment, paid tribute to the work of hospital staff.

“The continued positivity and warm reception of the staff is a testament to their bravery and dedication,” said Emma.

David said: “The staff are doing a great job and to see people so motivated to help and support patients is just unreal.

“This is an experience I will never forget. I have loved every second and I hope to start a new career with the NHS in the future.”

Professor Andy Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of Coventry and Warwickshire Hospitals NHS Trust, thanked the soldiers for their efforts, saying “They have made a massive difference in what has been the most challenging time ever for the NHS.”

Royal Army Medical Corps
Royal Corps of Signals
Coventry Live
BBC CWR

01/03/2021

Happy St David’s Day to all Welsh soldiers and families 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Just don’t mention the 🏉

13/02/2021
Birthday in hospital

Private Brandon Dean, who spent his 18th birthday on his first day of duties at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, talks about how he and fellow soldiers have been supporting NHS staff.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
The Yorkshire Regiment

The biggest intake in the history of the Brigade of Gurkhas has had to cope with their training being delivered under di...
10/02/2021

The biggest intake in the history of the Brigade of Gurkhas has had to cope with their training being delivered under different circumstances because of Covid-19.

432 successful candidates joined the British Army one year ago at British Gurkhas Pokhara, Nepal. The Trainee Riflemen then undertook nine months of rigorous basic infantry training at Catterick with strict Covid-19 Forces Health Protection Measures in place.

The training during the first national lockdown last year was not easy with multiple protection measures put in place in barracks and on the field. These included the soldiers having to train in social bubbles.

Ninety-six of the trainee soldiers joined the Queen’s Gurkha Signals in December 2020, the largest intake in the QGS's history.

In normal times, the new trainees would arrive at Gamecock Barracks near Nuneaton and undergo regimental induction training and trade selection before moving on to the Royal School of Signals, Blandford in Dorset. However, because of coronavirus protection measures, the new recruits have instead gone to Altcar Training Camp, Hightown, Liverpool.

The trainees have adapted well to the unusual circumstances. Just before the start of the latest national lockdown they visited Formby on Merseyside to help with their cultural and educational awareness. This was their first ever visit outside an Army camp since they joined in February last year. And a physical training session on the beach gave the Gurkhas their first sight of the sea.

The new recruits' induction and trade training will finish later this month culminating in an attestation parade.

Royal Corps of Signals
The Gurkha Brigade Association
The Royal Gurkha Rifles
Army in the North
Commander The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment

A soldier who has been deployed to a Worcester hospital, as part of a military team supporting NHS staff who are fightin...
05/02/2021

A soldier who has been deployed to a Worcester hospital, as part of a military team supporting NHS staff who are fighting coronavirus, marked his 18th birthday on his first day in the job.

Private Brandon Dean, from Hartlepool, is one of twelve soldiers belonging to the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment who have been deployed to carry out general duties at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester and Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, both part of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Armed Forces cannot deploy personnel in public-facing roles until they are aged 18 so this was Brandon’s first operational task for the Army.

In total, 370 soldiers have been deployed in support of NHS Midlands in 23 hospitals. The soldiers are assisting as either Combat Medical Technicians or, as in Private Dean’s case, carrying out General Duties.

The general duties soldiers are carrying out cover a range of non-clinical tasks, such as moving equipment and cleaning, as directed by NHS staff in order to improve patient care.

Private Dean was presented with a birthday cake and card from fellow soldiers during a break from duties on the ward at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

He said,

“It was a big surprise to get a cake and card from my unit on my first day of duties at the hospital.

“We are all just pleased to be doing our bit to help the NHS at this crucial time. Anything we can do to ease the pressures on nurses and doctors, who are working incredibly hard, makes this worthwhile.”

Over 5,500 military personnel are now deployed across the UK as part of the Armed Forces’ largest ever peacetime resilience operation, focused on testing, vaccines and clinical support for the NHS.

Hundreds of defence medics have deployed to NHS hospitals across the UK to work in intensive care units and other patient facing roles, providing vital care alongside NHS professionals.

The majority of the 800 defence medics nationwide supporting hospitals are trained as combat medical technicians. In their day job, these soldiers deploy on overseas operations and exercises as medics, work in defence medical centres and provide medical training to fellow Armed Forces’ personnel.

Brigadier AJ Smith, Commander Joint Military Command, West Midlands said:

“We remain in support of NHS Midlands as we have been for the last ten months. Our military personnel are providing medical and broader support to the amazing NHS team as they continue to face this unprecedented challenge.

“In addition, we are helping to roll out the regional vaccine programme with six Vaccine Quick Reaction Forces, made up of military personnel, deployed across the Midlands.”

The military have joined forces in the West-Midlands in the tri-service effort to support the NHS in the fight against C...
04/02/2021

The military have joined forces in the West-Midlands in the tri-service effort to support the NHS in the fight against Covid-19.

Two RAF officers have deployed to the region to work on vital planning and co-ordination tasks alongside NHS colleagues as part of the Joint Military Command West-Midlands.

Reservists from Dudley-based B Squadron The Royal Yeomanry are currently in Kenya - see below.
01/02/2021

Reservists from Dudley-based B Squadron The Royal Yeomanry are currently in Kenya - see below.

14/01/2021
Royal Gurkha Rifles curry break from haulier Covid testing

Soldiers from a Warwickshire-based Regiment have boosted the spirits of comrades from 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles who have been helping lorry drivers get Covid-19 tests at M42 service stations.

Troops from Queen’s Gurkha Signals 250 Squadron, 30 Signal Regiment, based at Bramcote near Nuneaton, arranged for a Nepalese baht (spicy curry) to be cooked, delivered and served to their fellow countrymen at freezing Hopwood Park and Tamworth service stations.

Some 170 soldiers from 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles are manning Covid lateral flow testing centres at motorway service stations across the country.

The troops help test hauliers and commercial drivers heading to Europe, providing them with certification so they can continue their journey to the Channel ports and tunnel while easing traffic congestion on the south coast.

Recognising that these soldiers, in four to six person teams, were operating remotely and detached from their parent unit, the Gurkha military community came together to bring a favourite Nepalese meal to the troops.

Amid the snowy conditions, a minibus pulled into the lorry parks at both service stations where a Gurkha chef and team jumped out to set up a table with a feast fit for the tired troops.

Captain Jamie Dick, of 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles, said,

"The soldiers really appreciated this. They are being accommodated nearby and getting their food from local shops.

"Ordinarily, back at their home barracks in Folkestone, the canteen would serve Nepalese cuisine on a daily basis. So this has been really well received and goes a long way to keeping their spirits up."

The HQ of the Army in the West Midlands recently welcomed Major General Mike Elviss, General Officer Commanding 3rd (Uni...
18/12/2020

The HQ of the Army in the West Midlands recently welcomed Major General Mike Elviss, General Officer Commanding 3rd (United Kingdom) Division.

The visit marked 11 Signal and West Midlands Brigade moving under the command of, or 're-subordinating' to, 3rd (UK) Division, also known as the Iron Division.

This is the only British Army division which is held at continual operational readiness in the UK.

Brigadier AJ Smith, Commander of the Army in the West Midlands, said:

"It was an absolute pleasure to welcome the Iron Division General Officer Commanding and the Command Sergeant Major to our HQ. It's great to be on the team."

The Shropshire HQ of the Army also played host to a poignant unveiling of a bench in memory of a long serving employee of the Officers' Mess.

Marie Maddison started working in Donnington in 1985 as a mess hand and as a steward in the Sergeants' Mess before taking on the role of steward supervisor in the Officers' Mess where she remained for many years.

Marie suffered a stroke in 2017 and was later diagnosed with lung cancer before sadly passing away.

Marie's daughter, Victoria Field-Williams, unveiled the memorial bench.

Brigadier AJ Smith said,

"Marie was a stalwart of the Donnington Messes. She was a friend to many of us and we will always be grateful for her support and care.

"It was fantastic to welcome her daughter, Victoria, to the Mess and to cut the ribbon on this memorial bench."

A plaque on the bench, in the gardens of the Officers' Mess, carries the inscription 'In Memory of Marie Maddison, For her loyalty and support towards the Officers and Soldiers of Donnington Station 1985-2019.'

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HQ 11 Signal & West Midlands Brigade is the Army’s regional formation in the West Midlands. We cover the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire as well as Birmingham, the Black Country and Coventry. We provide support to serving soldiers, veterans and their families.

The region is home to a large number of Army Regular Units, such as the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment in Market Drayton and 1 Signal Regiment in Stafford, and Reserve Units such as 4th Battalion of The Mercian Regiment in Wolverhampton and 202 Field Hospital in Birmingham.

The Army in the West Midlands carries out a wide range of tasks, including providing units for operations, recruitment of both Regular and Reserve soldiers, training, overseas defence engagements and UK civil engagement. 11 Signal & West Midlands Brigade provides military aid to civilian resilience operations, such as flood and severe weather relief efforts.

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