ARMY numbers were swelled this week when a total of 15 young men and women swore their oaths of allegiance to Queen and country at a mass enlistment ceremony in the council chamber of Scarborough Town Hall.
All of the new recruits had successfully passed through the Army’s Development and Selection Centre and are now preparing to start their Army Careers.
All fifteen will undertake their basic phase one training at the Army Foundation College in North Yorkshire, where they will learn basic military skills including: fieldcraft, handling and firing a weapon, first aid, marching with and without a rifle and how to live in the outdoors – which includes camouflage techniques.
Once the oaths were taken each of the new recruits were presented with a special certificate.
Jack Gray, a 16-year-old from Fieldside, said he was following in his father’s footsteps and wants to eventually join the Parachute Regiment.
He said: “I am looking forward to it, I’ve always wanted to do it. I want to join the Parachute Regiment because it is tough training.
“The oath is another piece of paper but I am glad I’ve got this far. I just want to get on with it now.”
His dad, 35-year-old Paul Gray of Tennyson Avenue, said he had served six years in the Royal Artillery and it was “like father like son”.
He added: “He always wanted to join the Army. I was pleased because I knew he was going to chose the right path. A lot of the parents are worried about Afghanistan but that’s what soldiers join up to do.”
Michael Taylor, a 16-year-old from Crossgates, hopes to eventually join the Household Cavalry. He said: “I’ve been a cadet for three years and I’ve loved that. I want to do it for my career.
“I was nervous when I took my oath but now I am really glad that I’ve done it – I’ve worked to get this far. I can’t wait to get my training started.”
His mother Andrea Taylor said it had been an emotional moment and she was very proud of her son. She said: “They’ll look after him. It’s better being in a career than on the streets.”
Attending the ceremony was Lt Col Howard Newson, from the Yorkshire Regional Recruiting Group (North East), who said he had noticed a stark difference between soldiers, who has recently “passed out”, and youths recently seen rioting on the streets of British cities. He said: “It will be tough, the military is a tough environment, we are asking young people to do tough things on the front lines.”
Cllr John Blackburn, the mayor of Scarborough, said: “It is quite unusual to have so many from our area at once. It’s a very important time for these young people as they begin a very interesting and challenging time of their lives which I am sure they will find very rewarding.”
Major Hamish MacCunn, from the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, gave the recruits an idea of what to expect from their training and subsequent careers.
Speaking before the ceremony he said there was still plenty of interest from new recruits He said: “We had a slight reduction in the number coming through the door but we have since increased the number of people enlisting.”
Four of the nine recruits from Scarborough had previously taken part in a military preparation course at the town’s Territorial Army centre in Coldyhill Lane.