Anonymous British soldier

Coronavirus: British Army Basic Training Resumes At Reduced Capacity

The Army said it is following guidelines put in place by its senior health adviser.

Anonymous British soldier

The British Army has resumed basic training at a reduced capacity following a pause over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Army suspended much of its training in March and said the re-start will be gradual.

Health protection guidelines have also been put in place by its senior health adviser.

Speaking last week, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Forces News: "There are things that we know we are going to need in six months' time, in a years' time, that if we are not training for them now, we cannot hope to have that capability which we need to keep our nation safe next year.

"That is all the justification that I need as Minister for the Armed Forces, to say 'well, that training has got to now get going again, irrespective of what the lockdown does'."

Some students have returned to the Army’s Infantry Training Centre at Catterick, but not all platoons are back yet.

While at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, new trainee officers will begin to arrive on Sunday.

Sandhurst building
New trainee officers are expected to arrive at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Sunday.

It will be a further two weeks until intermediate and senior trainees appear – the Army said they will continue learning online, which they have been doing since the start of the month.

Space has also been allocated at the academy to isolate anyone should they fall ill.

Lieutenant General (Ret'd) James Bashall, Former Commander, Home Command, told Forces News: "I think the challenge the military have is, that if we leave it too long, there's going to be a black hole where there are no recruits coming through, and of course, every day, every week, you've got people leaving at the far end.

"So there's an absolute necessity to start retraining young people coming into the Army."

The Royal Navy has said much of its training has continued through the lockdown period, including operational sea training and at HMS Raleigh where ratings get initial training.

The Royal Air Force has said essential training has not been affected by the pandemic and the rest of its training activities are now back to capacity.

Cover image: Crown Copyright.