Reserves

Infantry Personnel Hand Over COVID Support Force Duties To Gunners

4 YORKS has passed its coronavirus support duties on to 4 Regiment Royal Artillery.

Reservist battalion 4 YORKS has passed its coronavirus support duties on to regulars 4 Regiment Royal Artillery.

Soldiers from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment have been running mobile coronavirus testing facilities since the start of April.

The reservists handed over to 4 Regiment Royal Artillery in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, over the weekend. 

Major Maarten Magee, from 4 Regiment Royal Artillery, told Forces News: "The regiment deployed on Operation Tosca with the UN last year, so we've got experience of doing roles beyond our core trade.

"Although we're close-support gunners, we stand ready to support whatever we are asked to do and this a remarkable experience that they're looking forward to getting involved in."

In April, the Ministry of Defence mobilised 3,000 reservists for an initial duration of six months to support the UK's response to coronavirus.

In the north-east, more than 100 reservists stood down from their day jobs to be mobilised. 

To reduce the risk to their families, the reservists moved into their local Army reserve centre and initially worked seven-days-a-week to provide the capacity for thousands of COVID-19 tests per day.

Reservists in Army Reservist centre with luggage during COVID pandemic 150620 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Reservists from 4 YORKS moved into their local Army reserve centre to protect their families.

Corporal Muhammad Abuqaoud, from 4 YORKS, said: "We've been working hard...at the beginning we didn't have any time off. 

"A week in, Ramadan started, so I fasted as well, and the weather was quite warm, so yeah, it were quite difficult in the beginning."

Second Lieutenant Ross Garwood's day job is as a teacher, he told Forces News he was looking forward to teaching again and that he hasn't seen his pupils in more than three months.

He added: "I think the troops are sad that they're going to be split up and not living as closely as they have been.

"But, equally, it's nice to hand it over, step away from the MTUs (mobile testing units) and change role again."

Major Magee praised 4 YORKS as "highly professional", adding: "They've been incredibly forward-leaning and helpful for us to hit the ground running and make sure there's no drop in service."

A few members of 4 YORKS personnel will continue working on the ground with 4 Regiment Royal Artillery to make sure the operation continues to run smoothly.