Soldiers on a major training exercise in the UK are backed by a small army of specialist support.
Royal Bermuda Regiment Logistics Company troops are working with soldiers from the Regiment’s A Company on the public order and internal security Exercise Active Shield to keep the wheels turning and their colleagues supplied, fed and treated for any injuries.
Private Melanie Gauntlett, 33, a medic, said: “I like to say I’m A Company’s favourite medic, so when they go on exercise I enjoy going along so I can get to do some of the exciting stuff as well.”
She added she had honed her own skills working alongside Royal Anglian Regiment medics and that it was hoped courses could be organised in the UK for their Bermudian counterparts.
Pte Gauntlett said: “We could see a variety of injuries in the exercise. Things like dog bites, burns, lacerations and broken bones.”
But she added: “I love it – I enjoy what I do. I like the experience because I’m a relatively new medic, just under a year now, so it’s always nice to do things overseas.
The Clarien Bank personal banker said: “You get to see different injuries and you get to work with medics on a global basis. Hopefully, we will get to do more cross-training in the future.”
Pte Taylor Eve, normally a pay clerk at Warwick Camp, is attached to Logistics Company for the exercise to work with Paymaster Major Kenneth Wainwright to ensure the trip is value for money and comes in on budget.
She added that, even though she is in Kent, she is also working on pay for soldiers embodied for Hurricane Humberto and Tropical Storm Jerry.
Pte Eve, 28, from Warwick, said: “We’re working very hard. I’m learning a lot. I’ve done pay, but not as in depth as now. I’m doing spreadsheets and reconciliation, which is all new to me.”
The Bermuda Post Office administrator added the experience would also help her in her civilian life.
She explained: “I’m in administration, so it’s all useful in my Government job. It’s giving me more experience.”
Colour Sergeant John Lema, a veteran chef, is attached to the cookhouse at Lydd Camp and helping to prepare up to 350 meals three times a day alongside the civilian staff.
C/Sgt Lema, who works in catering at the Bank of Butterfield, said: “I’m the only RBR chef here.
“I got the time off, so I thought I’d come and try something new. I’m here to learn how different regiments are fed and how the kitchens operate.”
He added: “They feed a lot more people in a day than we do in an entire weekend at Warwick Camp, so it’s pretty hectic But the team I am working with is very good. They know what they’re doing and they’re well-organised.
C/Sgt Lema added he also worked to prepare container meals for RBR soldiers out in the field.
Sergeant Lowell Woolridge, 32, a signaller, said he was in charge of two soldiers tasked with delivering efficient and reliable communications between RBR units.
Sgt Woolridge, from Paget and a beekeeper in family firm Bee Lovers, added: “We set up communications, maintain the radio net and the radios and hand the kit out to the soldiers.
“It’s a vital role – they say ‘no bombs without comms’. It’s very intense because I’ve just taken over running the comms unit.
“But I’m enjoying it. It can be rough at times, but after you get through what you have to do, you look back and you feel a real sense of achievement.”
Major Wainwright said: “We do all the logistics for travel, accommodation, armoury and ammunition, replacement of uniforms and transport, as well as medics, communications and IT services.”
"He added his staff had also organised the delivery of more than 80 sets of flame retardant coveralls and boots as well as helmets and visors for the public order troops – in the right sizes.
Major Wainwright said: “The soldiers wouldn’t eat, they wouldn’t have boots on their feet, their coveralls or be able to sleep in a bed with sheets without us.
“We’re the heart and soul of the Regiment.”