Colchester's Airborne Craftsmen put to the test in competition 02122022 CREDIT British Army, MOD.jpg
On crossing the finish line, Airborne Craftsmen troops found an SV truck needing to be pulled into position (Picture: Cpl Danny Houghton/ British Army).
Army

Colchester's Airborne Craftsmen put fitness, teamwork and tech skills to the test

Colchester's Airborne Craftsmen put to the test in competition 02122022 CREDIT British Army, MOD.jpg
On crossing the finish line, Airborne Craftsmen troops found an SV truck needing to be pulled into position (Picture: Cpl Danny Houghton/ British Army).

Teamwork, technical skills and physical fitness were put to the test in a competition between Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) soldiers in the British Army's global response force. 

Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team held a competition for its REME soldiers – responsible for maintaining and repairing vehicles and equipment – all to celebrate the corps' patron saint St Eligius.

The competition at Merville Barracks in Colchester saw seven teams first tested on their vehicle repair skills.

Working against the clock, troops had to diagnose and fix several faults in a quad bike and then drive it around a circuit in reverse.

The Airborne Craftsmen then ran two miles in full kit carrying a 36lb rucksack, intended to replicate the final quick advance towards an objective on P Company, the test of physical and mental robustness soldiers must pass to serve in Airborne Forces.

On crossing the finish line, troops found an SV truck needing to be pulled into position.

The fastest team across the four challenges was declared the winner, with 8 Field Company (Para) REME presented with the Lance Corporal James McCue Trophy, named in honour of a REME soldier killed while serving in Iraq in 2003.

Colchester's Airborne Craftsmen put to the test 02122022 CREDIT British Army, MOD
Teamwork, technical skills and physical fitness were put to the test in the competition (Picture: Cpl Danny Houghton/ British Army).

8 Fd Coy (Para) REME team captain Cpl Andy Birch said: "There are a lot of REME soldiers spread across the Brigade and it's great to get together for a friendly competition, and even better that we won and have the bragging rights!

"It was a full day, with a good workout for our engineering skills followed by a hard physical workout – finding a truck to be pulled after you've finished a two-miler was tough!

"I think we won because we're a tight-knit team, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and have a really good understanding between us."

Brigade Electrical and Mechanical Engineer Major Aidy Mortimore said the aim of the competition was "to celebrate who we are and what we do as Airborne REME soldiers".

"This event is about bringing us together and building esprit de corps," he said.

"Our job as REME soldiers is to repair damaged and broken equipment and get it back in the fight as quickly as possible, and everyone has shown the technical skills, physical robustness and teamwork needed to achieve that."