My name is Craftsman Thomas Mortimore and I am currently on Phase 2 training at 10 Training Battalion, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.
April started off with the continuation of tool making where we completed our mini vice. A week of filing, sawing, drilling and more filing it was complete. Just like the strap spanner there was a theory test as well as a mark for the vice. The results were 77% for the vice itself and 83% for the theory exam where our knowledge of tools and their use were tested. Just before we finished this phase we had a week and a half of Easter leave, which gives us time to catch up on family and friends, and of course remembering some of the luxuries you had like a double bed and lie ins. The occasional break from training is important because it just gives you the time you need to relax before your back to duty.
At the beginning of April I went with the SEME shooting team to a shooting competition at Bisley over a weekend. We were firing 7.62mm target rifles at targets placed at 300, 600, 900 and 1000 yards. I found it surprisingly easy to hit the target even at 1000 yards, but it was a lot harder to actually hit the centre. I will confess I came second to last, but I really enjoyed it and it was different to the normal Tuesday evenings because I had been used to firing smaller and lighter rifles with the weekly shoots after work.
After bench fitting, we moved on to welding. Firstly we used oxyacetylene to make several joints including lap (one piece partially over the other), butt (one next to the other) and 2 kinds of fillet welding (one upright across the middle of the other). We then used an oxyacetylene cutter to cut pieces of metal. All this is something that I have never done before and it takes a while to get used to it. The last thing was Manual Metal Arc welding, which involves electricity and extremely high temperatures. I found this quite challenging and it took some getting used to before I made some improvements. The pieces we made would be marked along with the theory test.
Scorching hot furnace
The last thing we did this month was blacksmithing and heat treatment. This involves standing around a scorching hot furnace and heating up a piece of metal up to 900oc and then hammering it until we got the required shape that was needed. We made several tools including a chisel, centre punch, hexagonal spanner socket and a junior hacksaw. All this requires time and patience as it could be tricky getting the right shape but after a few hours practise you start to get the hang of it and know what to do to correct something.
Next month involves sheet metalwork, workshop procedures and Surveillance Systems.