All-volunteer recruit camp a success
The Island's soldiers met their target after more than 60 volunteers passed out of Recruit Camp this weekend.
The recruits celebrated as they completed two weeks of training before joining the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) yesterday.
Although altered this year owing to foul weather and high winds, the ceremony remained packed with proud friends and family.
Brigadier James Illingworth, the military attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, said it was a “fiercely ambitious target” to attain an all-volunteer crop of recruits, but it had been achieved.
He added: “To see it occur just over two years after is a terrific and hugely impressive feat.
“To have an all-volunteer force, those who want to serve their country honourably and dutifully is a serious indication of a strong organisation, confident in itself and genuinely keen to secure the interests of Bermuda. It's a very telling moment in the history of Bermuda.”
The camp's 8 Platoon took the honours over 7 Platoon as top platoon, but only by a narrow margin of two points, while 7 Platoon was home to top recruit Devina Burgess.
The 26-year-old from Devonshire, who works for Four Star Pizza, said: “I'm speechless — I didn't expect to win.
“I couldn't tell you what I did — I just tried my best, worked hard and never gave up. I dug deep.”
She said she hoped to join the Regiment's C Company as infantry or go into motor transport in Support Company.
Lance corporal Samuel Hewitt, a three-year veteran of the regiment, took the honours as top section leader as part of 8 Platoon, but gave credit to the soldiers he led.
The 23-year-old law student at Cardiff University in Wales said: “They're really the ones responsible for this — it was tough, but we got through it together.”
RBR commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Foster-Brown, who will hand over command to Major David Curley next month, told the new soldiers an all-volunteer camp was a first in the regiment's 50-year history.
Colonel Foster-Brown said: “Recruit Camp 2016 has been exciting with many new skills learnt, friendships made and often demanding.
“But it has also been special and the recruits have risen to the challenges and exceeded what they previously had thought were their limits of endurance, stamina and ability.”
Ginny Ferson, the acting Governor, told the new soldiers: “You will have learnt a lot about yourselves, you will have learnt a lot about others.
“You will have learnt to work together for a common aim and these are useful skills to take into your jobs, your homes and your community.”
Ms Ferson added that only 61 recruits were needed this year as retention of soldiers who had completed their original term of service was at an all-time high.
She said: “They have found in the Regiment a family, a purpose and an opportunity to serve the community in a meaningful way.”
The RBR's own training team was supplemented by seconded sergeants from its affiliated regiment, the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Jamaican Defence Force.