61 Regiment Soldiers Complete Recruit Camp

January 24, 2016

A total of 61 recruits – all volunteers – celebrated on Saturday as they completed two weeks of training before joining the Royal Bermuda Regiment [RBR] in a variety of specialities.

The camp’s 8 Platoon took the honours over 7 Platoon as top platoon – but only by a narrow margin of two points, while 7 Platoon was home to top recruit Devina Burgess.

The 26-year-old from Devonshire, who works for Four Star Pizza, said: “I’m speechless – I didn’t expect to win.

“I couldn’t tell you what I did – I just tried my best, worked hard and never gave up. I dug deep.”

She added she hoped to join the Regiment’s C Company as infantry or go into motor transport in Support Company.

Lance Corporal Samuel Hewitt, who won this year’s award for best section leader at  Recruit Camp.

RBR recruit camp Bermuda Jan 24 2016 (1)

Lance Corporal Samuel Hewitt, a three year veteran of the Regiment, took the honours as top section leader as part of 8 Platoon.

He said: “I’m very happy, very pleased. I’m delighted with my platoon and my section.”

The 23-year-old law student at Cardiff University in Wales added: “They’re really the ones responsible for this – it was tough, but we got through it together.”

The passing out ceremony was altered this year due to foul weather and high winds, although proud friends and family still braved the weather to watch their loved ones begin their military careers.

RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown, who will hand over command to Major David Curley next month, told the new soldiers an all-volunteer camp was a first in the Regiment’s 50-year history.

Top recruit: Private Devina Burgess [centre], who won the 2016 Recruit Camp best recruit award, flanked by platoon commander Lieutenant Mark Prior [left] and platoon Sergeant Patricia Alexander.

RBR recruit camp Bermuda Jan 24 2016 (2)

He added: “Recruit Camp 2016 has been exciting with many new skills learnt, friendships made and often demanding.

“But it has also been special and the recruits have risen to the challenges and exceeded what they previously had thought were their limits of endurance, stamina and ability.”

The latest recruits were also the first to train from scratch on the UK’s SA-80 rifles, donated free of charge to the RBR by the Ministry of Defence as replacements for ageing Mini Rugers.

Acting Governor Ginny Ferson told the new soldiers: “You will have learned a lot about yourselves, you will have learned a lot about others.

“You will have learned to work together for a common aim and these are useful skills to take into your jobs, your homes and your community.”

Family affair: Proud friends and family watch the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s latest recruits pass out after after two weeks of training at Warwick Camp.

RBR recruit camp Bermuda Jan 24 2016 (3)

Ms Ferson added that only 61 recruits were needed this year as retention of soldiers who had completed their original term of service was at an all-time high.

She said: “They have found in the Regiment a family, a purpose and an opportunity to serve the community in a meaningful way.”

Brigadier James Illingworth, the military attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, travelled from the US to watch the passing out parade.

He said it was a “fiercely ambitious target” to attain an all-volunteer crop of recruits, but it had been achieved.

Brig. Illingworth added: “To see it occur just over two years after is a terrific and hugely impressive feat.

On parade: Soldiers from 7 Platoon take part in the drill completion at the end of this year’s Royal Bermuda Regiment Recruit Camp.

RBR recruit camp Bermuda Jan 24 2016 (4)

The Island’s newest soldiers at the weekend passed out of Recruit Camp.

“To have an all-volunteer force, those who want to serve their country honourably and dutifully is a serious indication of a strong organisation, confident in itself and genuinely keen to secure the interests of Bermuda. It’s a very telling moment in the history of Bermuda.”

Lieutenant Tyler Owen, a 27-year-old underwriter from Warwick, who led 8 Platoon, said: “They did an outstanding job. I’m really proud of them. This is my first Recruit Camp and they were very keen and we didn’t have many complaints. They just got on and did it.”

The RBR’s own training team was supplemented by seconded Sergeants from its affiliated regiment, the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Jamaican Defence Force.

Sgt Greig Griffiths, of the Jamaica Regiment’s 1st Battalion, said: “They are good, well-trained and well-motivated. I have enjoyed it. In two weeks they have developed a great deal. They’ve grasped whatever was taught to them and they are ready to be soldiers.”

Sgt William Heneage, a British Army reservist with the Royal Anglians, added: “I have worked with the Regiment before in the UK, so it’s been great working from the other side. The recruits were great, as were the Non-Commissioned Officers – I’ve learned a great deal and I hope they have too.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Applause says:

    Congratulations ladies and gentlemen on a job well done!

  2. Bermuda says:

    8 platoon congrats

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