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Recruits win praise from high-ranking visitor

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Brigadier James Carr-Smith, Military Attache at the British Embassy in Washington, with Royal Bermuda Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley at Warwick Camp (Photograph supplied)

The senior military representative at the British Embassy in Washington has paid a flying visit to the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s latest recruits.

According to a press release, Brigadier James Carr-Smith, Military Attaché in the United States capital, said he was impressed by the commitment and standards of the RBR.

“Fantastic is my first impression of the troops,” he said.

He said that, although this was his first visit to the island since taking over the military attaché’s post last August, he had heard favourable reports about the RBR’s standards.

Brig Carr-Smith added that he had British Army friends, some from the RBR’s affiliated regiment the Royal Anglians, who had worked with island troops on overseas deployments, including Kenya.

He said: “The RBR’s reputation is world-renowned and, importantly, well-founded. There is a lot to like.”

Brig Carr-Smith was speaking after he toured Warwick Camp, speaking to new recruits on the firing range and the drill square, as well as instructors and full-time staff at Warwick Camp.

He said that the RBR’s equipment and training, as well as its customs and traditions, were founded on those of the British Army.

Brig Carr-Smith added: “We also have the same weapon system as the RBR and we’re wearing the same combats, while drill instructors have been on courses back in the UK, so I 100 per cent recognise the little training I have seen so far. If I was lucky enough to stay longer, I would recognise even more.

“Everything I have just seen and the interaction I have had with the young men and women, and some of them not so young I might add, is very positive.”

And he singled out new soldiers, conscripted years ago before it was decided to make the RBR all-volunteer but had been pending due to living or studying overseas, who had chosen to volunteer as an good indicator of the spirit of the recruits.

Brig Carr-Smith added the RBR compared favourably with the 15 Army Reserve infantry battalions in the UK.

He said: “Their recruit basic training is very similar to what I have just seen with RBR basic training.”

Brig Carr-Smith, due to return to his post at the British Embassy in Washington on Friday, added he had also been impressed by Bermuda.

He said: “The people I have met are hugely friendly. The thing that really has struck me is how well-integrated the Royal Bermuda Regiment is, not just with the society it serves, but, importantly, with the other agencies — police, immigration, customs, the fire service — and that inter-agency approach is very important in all our armed forces.

“That’s important in whatever country you’re in because no conflict will ever be solved by military intervention alone. Co-operation is vital and I see that in abundance here in the Royal Bermuda Regiment.”

RBR Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley escorted Brig Carr-Smith on visits to Governor John Rankin, police headquarters at Prospect and on his tour of Warwick Camp.

Lt Col Curley said: “It’s reassuring that a senior British officer has said such great things about us.

“And it’s also very gratifying that the RBR is recognised around the world as good ambassadors for Bermuda.”

The 60 new soldiers are now approaching the end of a tough two weeks of introduction to life in the island’s armed service and will finish their training with a formal passing out parade this weekend.

Military attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, Brigadier James Carr-Smith, talks to instructors on the firing range at the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Warwick Camp (Photograph supplied)
Brigadier James Carr-Smith with Sergeant Scott Garrett of the Royal Anglian Regiments 1st Battalion, the Vikings, on loan to the Royal Bermuda Regiment as an instructor during Recruit Camp (Photograph supplied)
Military attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, Brigadier James Carr-Smith (centre) with (L to R) Royal Bermuda Regiment Co Lieutenant Colonel David Curley and Regimental Sergeant Major Alvin Harvey (Photograph supplied)
Military Attache at the British Embassy in Washington, Brigadier James Carr-Smith talks to new Royal Bermuda Regiment recruits on the firing range at Warwick Camp (Photograph supplied)