My name is Andrew Vaughan, I am 25 years old and this is my story so far. I have just finished my fourth week of Phase 1 training at ATR Winchester where I hope to go on to join the Royal Artillery.
Week 4 began with PT in the morning. Today involved outdoor circuit training which is increasing in difficulty each time. The session was tough and together with the heat, we produced a lot of sweat!
We had functional skills after to brush up on our presenting skills prior to our presentations tomorrow during our Realities of War trip. We’re all looking forward to leaving camp for the day and being in the outside world for a while!
After that was DCCT where we had to take shots in the sitting, kneeling, squatting and standing positions. These were killer and again I failed on my first attempt, however, I passed on my reshoot. I’m still gutted I couldn’t pass first time and will have to practice these positions in my own time.
The evening was spent preparing for our trip tomorrow and I was sound asleep by half 8!
Today was our Realities of War trip and after breakfast we all boarded the coach to the Army Medical Services Museum.
After a quick snooze on the coach, we had arrived. We filed into a classroom where our Troop Commander and one of our Troop Corporals spoke about some of their experiences of human losses from tours they had been on. This was to tie in with the theme of the Realities of War and that death is unfortunately a huge part of war.
We were introduced to a retired Major who had spent “36 wonderful years in the Royal Artillery” (our chosen cap badge) and who gave us a lecture on the First World War. His knowledge is incredible.
Off then to the Museum itself where we learned how far the Army has come medically since the First World War. A fact I found fascinating was that if you broke your leg in WW1, you had an 80% chance of dying. Wow.
From there we went to Brookwood cemetery, the largest military cemetery in the UK. Despite being a place of great sadness, it’s also absolutely beautiful and I had a lump in my throat the whole way round. We had a small remembrance service with the Padre and were then shown around the cemetery. The cemetery is split into different sections depending on the nationality of the deceased and after visiting them all, we were given a small cross to place in front of any grave we saw fit. I placed mine in front of Captain G.M.R Vaughan-Sheehan.
We returned to camp and gave presentations as sections using prior research and information gained today.
With our webbing packed from the night before, off we went to Worthy Down to tackle the ranges for our first live firing session!
Unfortunately, the Army carries out almost everything alphabetically and as my surname begins with V, I’m always last! This time was no different and had a while to wait, I spent this time however, brushing up on my BCD drills. There’s always something to do here, being idle is looked at as a sin!
My turn arrived and it was time to fire Roy with live ammo for the first time! My DCCT sessions have shown that I’m awful at shooting and nerves quickly set in. After carrying out safety checks we were given the command to LOAD, MAKE READY and get into the various firing positions. The recoil caught me off guard the first few times!
After completing our firing, our groupings were measured and I managed to pass all except prone and sitting and straight after I retook them. Thankfully, I managed to pass this time and felt a huge sense of relief!
Ended the day with an inspection with one tomorrow to follow!
I started the day with my second and final dentist appointment. This unfortunately conflicted with our PT session of the day and I’m surprised to hear myself say that I’m actually gutted I missed PT!
Next up was drill – in a thunder storm! We gathered under shelter until it died down a little, but watching rain bounce off the parade square was a strangely beautiful sight. Just praying it doesn’t do the same on our pass out!
After drill was another lesson with the Padre who spoke to us about loyalty and selfless commitment – two huge values in the Army.
We finished with a BCD lesson on bleeding and breakages. We practised applying field dressings on each other and that was us done for the day.
First up today was SAA where we were taught about how to shoot crossing targets. I currently struggle to hit stationary ones however!
After was PT – our first boot run! This included hill sprints, static runs and push ups for our lack of enthusiasm! Very hard work, but no pain no gain and in this particular instance I gained a lovely blister for my efforts!
We concluded with a map reading lesson where we took grid and magnetic bearings with a compass. It’s all starting to make sense now and I’m looking forward to applying these skills on our next exercise.
Also as an added bonus, we received our peak caps today. They look awesome!
Today was very relaxed in comparison to the week.
We started off with PT. Saturday Circuits! We warmed up in a humorous way, with our PTI getting us to imagine we were kayaking to a private beach where we could order a cocktail from a barman. This scenario involved several exercises such as steering the kayak, climbing a tree, throwing down a coconut and smashing said coconut. By the end of it our water tasted as good as a cocktail! We then entered the gym and saw a multitude of mats on the floor. Each mat consisted of an exercise including squats, sit ups, press ups and, of course, burpees. A gruelling hour and a half later and it was over. Although horrific at the time, I am beginning to feel good after PT!
We were then given our first CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) lesson which taught us the basic theory on what these all are and their devastating effects.
After that was pure admin for the day! We spent some time in the Welfare Centre and enjoyed having some time to relax!
A whole day of admin today. We spent it preparing our bergens for Exercise FIRST STEP which is coming up on Tuesday. Can’t wait!
Visit Recruit Vaughan’s page and read about his journey
Find out about joining the Army
Find out about ATR Winchester