Tough training challenge for Ripon sappers

Spr Stephen Smith, of 21 Engineer Regiment, rescues a 'casualty' during the training exercise in Northumberland. (S)
Spr Stephen Smith, of 21 Engineer Regiment, rescues a 'casualty' during the training exercise in Northumberland. (S)

SAPPERS from 21 Engineer Regiment in Ripon have taken part in a gruelling training course in Northumberland to prepare themselves for promotion up the ranks.

Training in temperatures rarely rising above freezing, 41 sappers from the city passed the four-week Potential Non-Commissioned Officer’s (PNCO) cadre – a prerequisite for promotion from Sapper to Lance Corporal (L/Cpl).

DATE: January 2012'LOCATION: Otterburn'UNIT: 21 Engr Regt'JOB NUMBER: 4 Mech Bde 2012-003'PHOTOGRAPHER: Cpl Mike O'Neill RLC LBIPP''CAPTION:  SAPPERS GET STUCK IN'Royal Engineers from around the country are pushing themselves into action on a Potential Non Commissioned Officers Cadre.  The course will assess and hone their military skills but will concentrate on making future NCOs of The Royal Corps of Engineers.'With soldiers predominately from 21 Engineer Regiment they have moved to Otterburn, Northumberland so that they can fully gel together.   The Cadre will test them to the very extremes of what they are capable of.'In wintry conditions on the hills of Otterburn the Sappers pushed their limits further by conducting Section Attacks in the snow.  Despite the cold the Sappers' morale remained high and smoke breaks were interspersed with humourous outbursts.'In this image: ''Image by Cpl Mike O'Neill RLC LBIPP.''Please Credit Photographer.

DATE: January 2012'LOCATION: Otterburn'UNIT: 21 Engr Regt'JOB NUMBER: 4 Mech Bde 2012-003'PHOTOGRAPHER: Cpl Mike O'Neill RLC LBIPP''CAPTION: SAPPERS GET STUCK IN'Royal Engineers from around the country are pushing themselves into action on a Potential Non Commissioned Officers Cadre. The course will assess and hone their military skills but will concentrate on making future NCOs of The Royal Corps of Engineers.'With soldiers predominately from 21 Engineer Regiment they have moved to Otterburn, Northumberland so that they can fully gel together. The Cadre will test them to the very extremes of what they are capable of.'In wintry conditions on the hills of Otterburn the Sappers pushed their limits further by conducting Section Attacks in the snow. Despite the cold the Sappers' morale remained high and smoke breaks were interspersed with humourous outbursts.'In this image: ''Image by Cpl Mike O'Neill RLC LBIPP.''Please Credit Photographer.

Cadre officer Capt Kristian Haagensen said: “The cadre course is to train selected soldiers for their responsibilities as L/Cpls in the Royal Engineers.

“The course is hard, but designed to train and test soldiers by providing them with sufficient knowledge, leadership and management skills they will need as junior leaders.

“The sappers have been pushed to their physical and mental breaking points but they now understand what it takes to be a leader. Trekking a total of 50 miles over the rugged Otterburn training area, the students had their first opportunity in command appointments while on exercise.”

The training course culminated with a passing out parade, during which Richard Cummings, 21, who serves with 21 Engineers’ 73 Armoured Squadron, was promoted and presented with the rank of L/Cpl by the Commander Royal Engineers, Col Andrew Barr.