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Sailors become soldiers for a day with affiliated Regiment

Sailors become soldiers for a day
15 June 2017
A contingent of 19 members of HMS Iron Duke’s Ship’s Company took the opportunity to become acquainted with their counterparts from the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.

The two units share a long history of co-operation ever since the Great War, when troops from the then named, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment travelled on board the battleship Iron Duke.

The sunny morning at 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment's home in Warminster kicked off with a demonstration of the equipment used to support their mounted infantry.

For most, this was the first time up close and personal with unfamiliar weapon systems such as Mortars and Anti-tank weapon systems.

From there, the next stop was the firing range, where the hosts introduced the crew to a series of close-quarters marksmanship drills using the 5.56 rifle.

Whilst the most fundamental basics were the same, it was fascinating to learn from expert marksmen who train regularly with personal weapon systems.  

A great deal was learnt by all those who took part; most note worthy was Able Seaman (Seaman Specialist) Dunne who achieved a 100% accuracy score, impressing his colleagues and the Army instructional staff.

After lunch, it was back outside for a familiarisation on the armoured vehicles used by the regiment. This saw the visitors out on Salisbury plain riding in the Spartan, Warrior, and Bulldog armoured fighting vehicles.

For most, this was the highlight of the day (or perhaps even week) although for the Army, business as usual I’m sure.

The sailors were then given the opportunity to go ‘weapons free’ (shoot what they like) on a variety of targets with the Warrior’s main armament, albeit from the safety of the simulated ‘turret trainer’.  

For some whose jobs on board are to man the Ship’s 30mm Guns, this was of particular interest as the Warrior shares the same calibre with two of HMS Iron Duke’s automated weapon systems, however the method in which they are operated is considerably different.

The Officers and Ratings were then invited to the respective messes for dinner and an opportunity to discuss life in the different Services during their social. Both sides were fascinated to hear about how similar but yet different their lives were.

The following morning, the Navy could not possibly be allowed to leave without a good PT (physical training) session, in which, similarly to the old rhyme: The Grand old Duke of York, who had just 19 of our men, ran us up to the top of the hill then he ran us down again (before playing a quick game of five-a-side).

It was a great opportunity for HMS Iron Duke to reaffirm ties with their affiliated regiment, and this hopefully signifies a close relationship for many years to come.

Afterwards, plans were already being discussed to host the regiment on board once they return home from an exercise in BATUS, Canada.

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