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running through from December 2008 to May 2009, the Platoon sent down two detachments of 5 signallers, headed up for the duration by Cpl Wes Hutton. This has been a fantastic training opportunity for us, being able to practice low-level skills, as well as the more unusual training, such as Ship-to-Shore communication which does not present itself too often for a Light Role Battalion.


In the meantime, the remainder of the platoon have been busy catching up on career qualifications, which for some (the RSWO) have meant going back to the beginning (the joys of missing the window for Bowman Conversion) and for others, of tackling the hurdle of the Infantry Regimental Signals Advanced Systems (IRSAS) course, which has replaced the old CLANSMEN RSS course. Sgt Clarke faired particularly well on this course and is now well established as CV ‘A’ Sgt and Platoon Sgt. Sgt Graeme MacMillan has been kept busy running internal courses to ensure that the rifle coys have sufficiently trained soldiers on BOWMAN, and is shortly to tackle PSBC for which we wish him the best of luck. LCpls Robbie Keane, Rob Good, Phil Hardman, Stu Grundy from the CIS Platoon and Cpl Owen from A Coy all took the Regimental Signals Advanced Course (RSA) which forms part of the requirement for promotion to Cpl and all achieved excellent results.


In March the Platoon was augmented by the arrival of four Queen’s Ghurka Signallers to form the Royal Signals Infantry Support Team to improve our ability to communicate with Brigade and higher formations. Their knowledge of BOWMAN and other communications systems (in particular, the murky world of Satellite Comms) will prove invaluable as the Platoon continues its preparation for deployment on operations in 2010. Having focussed on training the Battalion, our attention will now shift towards internal training and practising the skills necessary to run the Battlegroup Headquarters and Echelon elements ahead of Ex GRAND PRIX and pre-deployment training later this year.


It has not all been hard work this year, as some have managed to escape barracks (notably the RSO for 6 weeks of skiing) for the odd ‘jolly’ and Sgt MacMillan has been rounding up the platoon every fortnight to compete in the 2nd Division Orienteering Championships (with mixed enthusiasm from the various participants prior to competition but appreciation afterwards for the opportunity).


This year we have also welcomed Ptes Sukha and Hunt from ITC, LCpl Aaron McNamara from a short spell as a civilian, and will be saying farewell to Sgt Gary Davenport, who will have completed his 22 years of Colour Service in July. His experience and knowledge of BOWMAN and communications in general will be missed, as will his pragmatic outlook on life, shared during the morning coffee break to any around to listen. Ptes Walsh and Hurst are also nearing the end of their time with the Army and we wish them well for their future endeavours. The RSO is shortly moving on to take over as Operations Officer within the 1st Battalion and will be replaced by Lt (Captain wef June 09) Phil Dyson from A Company on completion of the RSO course in July.


Congratulations are in order for CSgt Owen on promotion to WO2 (wef June 09) and also to LCpl Shanley on finally joining the Corporals’ Mess.


RSO: Capt A R Thompson


RSWO: CSgt I Owen CQMS: Sgt J Jones BSM:


Sgt E Jones


Pl Sgt: Sgt M Clarke Trg Sgt: Sgt G MacMillan Cpls:


Ptes: E Bratchell, W Hutton, R Stokes


LCpls: D Barry, S Bull, R Good, S Grundy, P Hardman, R Keane, A McNamara, R Shanley


P Evans, J Hunt, J Hurst, L Oldham, Mason, P Rafferty, S Sukha, M Swindells, D Walsh, A Wyper


RSIST: Sgt Sureshkumar Limbu, Cpl Bharat Ghale, Cpl Rajkumar Gurung, LCpl Durga Pun.


The Mercian Eagle October 2009 31


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