My name is Andrew Vaughan, I am 26 years old and this is my story so far. I have just finished my fourteenth week of Phase 1 training at ATR Winchester where I hope to go on to join the Royal Artillery.
Today marked the start of practising the parade itself with the other troops on the square. We did this in our barrack dress which combined with the extreme heat is killer! We’ve also started paying extra attention to bulling our shoes, as shoe inspections will be coming up to make sure ours are up to standard for our big day.
The basic format of the parade was covered today and the RSM made sure everyone knew what was happening.
In the evening, we showed our skit video to our Troop Staff whilst we ordered dominos in. We spent a lot of time on the skit and it was received very well by all (it was hilarious!).
Today was a sad day in one respect. It was our Troop Commanders last day and another would stand in for him for our parade. He bid us farewell and wished us luck for the future. I hope I’ll see him again somewhere down the line.
The prize winners were announced today and their part of the parade to collect their awards was practised and refined. The whole parade is beginning to take shape, the finish line is in sight.
Flaws and mistakes were tweaked today up to the point that the RSM noticed a huge improvement. We’re so close to passing out now, there’s a huge buzz of excitement in the air!
Today was a big day for me for two reasons. One being that it was my last full day and night here at Winchester. The second, it’s my birthday!
Today we handed back in our issued kit, cleaned our rifles, had a shoe inspection (which after a week of solid bulling went well), had a No 2 inspection (which after a week of ironing and threading also went well) and finally did more parade practice on the square. We’re now at a decent level according to the RSM which has boosted our confidence and none of us can wait for tomorrow! I spent the rest of my birthday enjoying my last night in Winchester – by taking part in a section attack on the rest of the troop with head torches and water pistols. A brilliant end to my 26th!
So the day had finally come. 14 weeks of mud, sweat and tears. The amount I’ve learnt and the amount I’ve grown since I’ve been here is astonishing and it has all led to today.
We got into our barrack dress so not to ruin our No 2s and made our way to the square to do a final run through with the band. The band playing in the background got the adrenaline flowing and the goose bumps going, the drum kept us in perfect step. With our final practise over with we got back to the block and got changed into our No 2s whilst our friends and families began to arrive.
We checked each other over and when convinced we all looked the part, marched over to the square and got ready. The speaker announced us on and our pass out parade began. The band playing coupled with the sound of our loved ones cheering us on was an unbelievably overwhelming feeling and one I won’t forget. We performed our pass out perfectly and when all was over we were marched back off the square as soldiers!
We got changed into our civilian suits, said goodbye and thank you to our staff, met up with our families and bid farewell to ATR Winchester. Thankfully all of 2 Troop have come to Phase 2 together but I’d like to give a huge thank you to my training team. It’s been emotional!
Visit Recruit Vaughan’s page and read about his journey
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Find out about ATR Winchester