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Shamrock Challenge: Celebrating The Next Generation Of Reservists

Today has been a proud one for the next generations of reservists, drawn from across the UK and trained in County Down in Northern Ireland....

More than 30 civilians have officially become Army reservists in Ballykinler, Northern Ireland.

Following three weeks of intense training, known locally as Exercise Shamrock Challenge, they passed out in front of their friends and family.

The new reservists are drawn from across the UK and trained in County Down in Northern Ireland.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Cassells said: "Our age ranges are between 18 and 52 - we have a mother and daughter on the course, we have a career teacher and one of his pupils, all joining different units.

"They all have different reasons for doing it.

“They want to belong to a group of people, we’ve others who are students, a number of teachers are on the course, and a linguist - such a wide, varied group of people.

"It’s been a pleasure having them on the course."

The troops have completed three weeks of basic training, split into Alpha & Bravo phases.

Shamrock Challenge
To become reservists, they have to complete weapons handling, chemical attack drills and first aid.

Physical fitness has also been a huge part of the course, with prizes awarded to those who excelled.

Northern Ireland has three per cent of the UK's population, but seven per cent of the Army's reservists.

In Northern Ireland, they can do all their basic reservist training in one chunk, rather than across several weekends.

Craftsman Damyll Bewdow of 159 Field Company REME spoke about the advantages of doing the training in one go:  

"You bond and gel more, and if you’ve had a bad day, rather than sacking it in you have your mates around you that you started with, so you want to finish it with them as well."

These soldiers will go back to their home units to start their Army Reserve careers.

Shamrock Challenge