Learning the trade of the Armourer: From classes to clay pigeons

Cfn Mortimore

Cfn Mortimore

My name is Craftsman Thomas Mortimore and I am currently on Phase 2 training at 10 Training Battalion, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME).Learn more about Thomas’s background here

Common Foundation Course

February for me this year is all about the Common Foundation course. This involves Technical Drawing, Maths, Science, Engineering Materials, Bench fitting and Health and Safety. The pass mark for the Common Foundation Course exams is 60% which may seems easy, especially as all the exams have multiple choice answers, but best advice really (and anyone will tell you this) is to revise thoroughly. The revision classes are 6-7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays (it’s not optional to go) and you usually just answer questions from an exercise book on the topics you have covered up until that point and there is always a Sergeant there to help you if you are stuck or don’t understand something.

One hundred per cent

Technical drawing took four days during which you will submit three pieces of work, all of which are dictated by the instructor so there really is no way to fail unless you don’t listen to them. Maths, Science and Engineering Materials overlap each other, but Maths and Science is a couple of weeks whereas Engineering is four days. Anyone who did Resistant Materials/Design and Technology at school will understand a lot of what is done. I passed Engineering with 75%. Maths covers a lot of GCSE grade modules like Algebra, Conversions, Area, Circles, Diameter, Trigonometry and Graphs. I passed Maths with 95% which I was really happy with. Science focuses on the Physics side and includes conversion from one unit to another, force, mass, work, power, temperature, friction and pressure. If anyone remembers drawing the “equation triangles” at school then they are extremely useful. I passed Science with 100%

Benchfitting is a key skill for REME tradesmen

Benchfitting is a key skill for REME tradesmen

Health and safety was two days long and consisted of a day and a half going through computer lessons and questions covering all the topics. The main purpose of bench fitting is to teach you the basics of engineering. The practical project will be a strap spanner which will be built in approximately three days worth of work. You start with a practice piece and learn all about drilling, taps and dies, sawing and most of all, filing.

Clay pigeon shooting for sport on a Wednesday afternoon.

Clay pigeon shooting for sport on a Wednesday afternoon.

Clay Pigeon

I do not wish to give the impression that it is all classroom work though.  There is plenty of time set aside for sports and physical training. There are a huge variety of sports you can choose to do every Wednesday afternoon and various clubs have extra hours after work. I had done swimming in the past, but after realising the full range of sports available to me (and the fact the swimming pool is 100m down the road and free to use) I chose something I never thought I would get the chance to do; Clay Pigeon. February had started off very cold and as a result when I spent my first time clay pigeon shooting I could barely use the shotgun, let alone hit the target. Later on I also took part in the target shooting with the rifle club.

Most of the PT during this period is all about building up strength, and there seems to be no better way to do this than an hour of squats every Tuesday and Friday. Whether you’re throwing 10, 15 or 20kg bags into the air, squatting with weight on your back/shoulders, or lifting up weights and trying to look like an Olympic weightlifter, you’ll know whether you have worked hard because your legs will be like jelly and you will barely be able to get down the stairs. All this however is extremely useful because it builds up your muscles in your legs allowing you to gain a better run time and carry heavy items for longer distances e.g. your back pack on exercise.

So hopefully by the time I write next month’s blog I should have a quicker run time and have completed foundation training. The next chunk of my training is the real meat where I learn my trade as an Armourer.

9 thoughts on “Learning the trade of the Armourer: From classes to clay pigeons

  1. Sounds so boring now, i done my aromourers course 22 years ago, so much more practical back then, we were the first to do the SA80 and chain gun on the Warrior, so much more now is geared for when you leave the army than for your real job! Nobody needs an armourer in civi street!!

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  2. Ah bench fighting I remember it well. 22 years ago I was that young armourer. When you get to the pin vice your done. Enjoy soldier

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  3. Good man hope to start my phase 1 some time this year and start as an armourer good luck

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  4. Pingback: Learning the trade of the Armourer: From classes to clay pigeons … | Armyslags – Blog Network

  5. Pingback: Learning the trade of the Armourer – The Official British Army Blog | Armyrats

  6. Sandy: I Rememember it well. Still got my strap spanner! The 4 years have flown by since I finished the course. Wait until you are posted, then you will really learn!!

    Good luck.

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  7. Anyway it is a valuable opportunity and experience. You can explore your outlook. After retired from the Army you would join the police force. As you are qualified Armourer .

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