Public services students Kerri Hall and Beth Cooper take us through the third day of insights into army life at Swynnerton Army Training Camp.

We began today by being woken up (once again) at 6:30am and then had to ready in time for breakfast at 7:00am. We then separated into our 3 groups and went away to do different activities.

In our group we were taught about two key acronyms – the ‘A-H’ method of identification and ‘SCRIM’

A-H refers to: age, build, clothing, distinctive features, elevation, facial features, gait, hair, and sex.

SCRIM is an identification for cars which stands for shape, colour, registration, identification marks, and make and model.

We had to remember these as it would help us in the night task later that day.

Patrolling

Then, we went onto the next task, where we had to work as a team to patrol with rifles through a set up street safely and collect a piece of important information. The idea was to avoid an ‘enemy’ whose job was to try and create casualties so that the whole team had to go back, with all the casualties and weapons. If anyone had a bad attitude during tasks it was noticed and, as punishment the army staff would make go on a run. We had to have passion when going down the street with the rifles to be able to step up and take control of the task as a team. We had to work well as a team as when it came to casualties, decisions needed to be made on who was to carry them and who was to protect them.

Re-cap…!

We were then taken to the TV room where we revised for the ‘Heart Start’ test that we would undertake the next day. We also went over all the other things we’d learned in the previous few days.

Next, we lined up outside in our three ‘ranks’ (groups) in time for lunch which started at 12:30pm. At lunch we had lasagne and it was at this point where our tiredness from the week so far started to show a little…as we’d been working so hard…for example – some of the girls started laughing for ages over little things and James pressed the coffee button on the machine, put his cup under, and it poured out next to his cup..oops!

Assault course

When we’d finished lunch, we went to do a warm up and were then introduced the assault course. The army staff told us how to complete each part of the course and then we had to follow in doing the same as they’d taught us. After we all knew how to do each part of the assault course, we split into our three groups and completed the course group by group.

We had to…

  • run the course
  • work as a team to help each other through
  • run together to the beginning
  • do press-ups depending on if we had gained forfeits
  • …and then finish as we started!

Throughout, we had to use teamwork to help the people who struggled on parts of the course and do extra to make sure all teammates ran together and completed the course as a whole. We had to give 100% effort otherwise it wouldn’t be fair on the rest of the team.

We all then walked back in our ranks in time for tea which started at 5pm.

Night task

When we’d finished tea, we were instructed to get our coats on, and bring out our bags with warm kit in and get into our three groups ready for the ‘night task’, which began at 7pm. The first bit of the night task consisted of patrolling in our groups down the streets, watching out for information which would help us later. We came to a fence where we had to remember bits of information about the people inside and the vans etc. This included the A-H and SCRIM methods that we’d learned earlier in the day. We then gathered with the member of staff that led our group and discussed the information that we’d collected.

The Maze

Final task of the day was the maze. We had to collect the 20 rods that were scattered in maze, but to make it difficult there were ‘enemies’ in there ready to capture people who didn’t remain silent or made themselves obvious to be seen. We went around in pairs and only had a limited amount of time to find the rods. Everyone needed to be prepared to hide from enemies and watch out for the walls. We all had to have the energy to stay up late and still participate fully in the task, making sure we stayed quiet and gathered information. After this activity, we went back to our rooms and got ready for bed at 10:30pm.