An army battalion which has been stationed in Barnsley for more than a decade hopes to encourage people from all walks of life to sign up. Chronicle reporter Charlotte Hutton visited the base to find out more about the regiment...
THE Burma Company, 4th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, is stationed on Wakefield Road, hidden away by a housing estate.
While many may drive past the base on their daily commute, soldiers have been proud to serve in the army since the battalion’s inception in 2006.
The battalion makes up part of the Reserve Army - formerly known as the Territorial Army - in which soldiers complete their training alongside working a ‘civilian’ job.
Company Sergeant Major Tommy Pigg is keen to dispel the stereotype that the army is an ‘old boys’ club’ and wants to show the diversity in the battalion.
“I think some people get put off when they think of the army, because they think it’s how it was 20 or 30 years ago,” he said. “We have soldiers from all walks of life here, and I really want to help get rid of the old stereotype about what the army is like.
“We’ve got soldiers who are factory workers, students, and even lawyers and as long as recruits are willing to put the training in, we welcome anyone with open arms.”
New recruits will undergo a rigorous training programme which will train them to the same standards as full-time soldiers.
The recruits can then be deployed in areas to help support the army.
“We’ve had tours of Afghanistan, Canada and most recently in Kenya,” added Com Sgt Maj Pigg. “I think the troops do enjoy going to see parts of the world they might never visit - and doing something they enjoy is an added bonus.
“We’ve also been deployed in our own communities and have helped with the flood relief efforts in past years.”
Troops at the base work a full-time job alongside their training for the army, and complete additional training at weekends and evenings.
“A lot of the troops we have at the base mentioned that they always wanted to join the army but that life got in the way of their plans so completing training in their spare time appealed to them,” said Com Sgt Maj Pigg.
“I do enjoy coming to training every week because it’s like family - we really look out for each other and I enjoy seeing the new recruits’ confidence grow as they complete their training.
“New recruits will be put in groups and they sort of band together and look after each other - there’s a real sense of community.”
Once new recruits pass their stage one and two training, they swear an oath in front of an image of the Queen and are then made an official private of the company.
They are then able to move up in rank throughout their time in the reserve army.
Some troops choose to enter into the reserve army following a career as a full-time soldier.
“We have had a few soldiers who don’t want to completely leave the army behind, but want to pursue other careers, so they have joined us and have been able to pick up what we call ‘civilian’ jobs.”