Ukrainian personnel, seen here trying on various boots at a training facility within the UK 13102022 CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright
Image of Ukrainian personnel, seen here trying on boots at a UK training facility (Picture: MOD).
Ukraine

Small Yorkshire business offers support to Ukrainian recruits

Ukrainian personnel, seen here trying on various boots at a training facility within the UK 13102022 CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright
Image of Ukrainian personnel, seen here trying on boots at a UK training facility (Picture: MOD).

Thousands of Ukrainian recruits are being aided in their fight against Russian aggression by a small business in North Yorkshire.

Boots made by Richmond-based Altberg form part of a collection of cold weather kit, including waterproofs, sleeping bags and roll mats, which the UK has provided to more than 9,500 Ukrainian recruits who have been trained by UK forces alongside eight partner nations since June.

The combat Defender boots are designed to be especially durable in cold conditions – making them suitable for the Ukrainian winters when temperatures can plummet substantially.

Altberg is one of many smaller UK companies that are supplying vital equipment to both UK Armed Forces and Ukrainian allies, whose work is being recognised across the country on Small Business Saturday.

Minister for Defence Procurement Alex Chalk said: "Small Business Saturday is a fantastic opportunity for defence to champion those smaller UK companies who are such a crucial cog in our defence supply chain, and who help ensure our Armed Forces have the best possible equipment to defend our nation."

A member of staff uses a sewing machine to sew the seams on the tongue of a Altberg boot 28112022 CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright
A member of staff uses a sewing machine to sew the seams on the tongue of an Altberg boot at the factory in Richmond, North Yorkshire (Picture: MOD).

Mr Chalk added: "I am proud that the UK is the second largest donor of military equipment to Ukraine, and my thanks go to the small businesses who have been pulling together to help get vital supplies and equipment into the hands of our Ukrainian friends to support them in their fight against Russian aggression."

Altberg, which was established in 1989 by bootmaker Mike Sheehan, grew its business by selling hiking boots to soldiers based at the nearby Catterick Garrison.

The company used valuable insight provided by soldiers who had been deployed in extreme conditions to develop durable boots for the UK military.

Altberg managing director Joe Sheehan said: "I hope that the use of our boots will help Ukraine in any small way possible, to keep the feet of Ukrainian soldiers healthy and comfortable, so they can continue to fight the good cause."

staff holds a boot in place while using one of many machines in the Altberg factory 28112022 CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright
Ukrainian soldiers coming to train in the UK are issued with their own pair of Altberg Defenders (Picture: MOD).

Joe's father, Altberg owner and founder Mike Sheehan, said: "Ukraine's situation is much worse than anything I could even imagine, but they have resilience – and right now their soldiers are showing this every day when they stand against the Russians.

"They have my heartfelt support. All of us at Altberg are immensely proud to be able to make boots for them."

Ukrainian soldiers have been undergoing training at an undisclosed location in the north of England – enrolled on a British-led five-week crash course.

They learn everything from weapon handling, tactics, and trench warfare to battlefield first aid and the law of armed conflict.

The first cohort of Ukrainian troops came to the end of their training in the UK in July.