Army

First Recruits Pass Out From ATR Winchester Since Coronavirus Lockdown

The recruits completed eight weeks of the training course from home during the lockdown.

Recruits have passed out from the Army Training Regiment (ATR) in Winchester for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.

The graduation parade, usually attended by families and friends, had no audience, with each recruit standing two metres apart.

The 60 new soldiers also had to wear combat uniform rather than traditional service dress. 

The recruits' basic training began in January but was interrupted after six weeks because of the pandemic.

As a result, the trainees were sent home and spent eight weeks undergoing virtual training. 

Subjects including battlefield casualty drills were taught over online video conferencing, while physical training was done using mobile phone exercise apps. 

Craftsman David Taylor, a graduate at ATR Winchester, told Forces News: "The corporals came up with some really creative ideas to keep us engaged with the learning.

"We ended up doing quizzes, using multiple apps on our phones...taking advantage of some of the technology we've got right now."

Recruits at ATR Winchester pass out for first time since coronavirus lockdown 050620 CREDIT BRITISH ARMY
The recruits observed social distancing measures during the parade (Picture: British Army).

Recruits only started to return to Sir John Moore Barracks on 17 May, with each recruit and staff member following a number of coronavirus procedures.

Captain Hannah Peck, Platoon Commander ATR Winchester, said: "Not only for recruiting do we need to continue [training], but also just to adapt to the situation and just to prove that it actually can be done and it can be done safely, whilst still holding those standards to the highest level we expect, as well.”

The recruits will now go on to the next stage of their Army career, to bases across the UK and further afield.