The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s newest soldiers today (SUN) began their military careers with the start of Recruit Camp.
A total of 36 rookies arrived at Warwick Camp to start two weeks of training designed to prepare them for life as a soldier.
Private Tre Jones-Francis, 20, from Smith’s, said: “I joined for a new experience and to make myself stronger as a person. I also wanted to open up new opportunities.”
He added: “I wasn’t nervous coming here and I’m already settling in.”
Pte Jones-Francis said he had yet to decide which area of the Regiment he was most interested in.
He added: “I’m still figuring it out as I move along.”
But Pte Jones-Francis said: “I want to be able to take on tasks I wouldn’t have in the past. It’s about having the confidence. It will be good to work as part of a team and build new relationships with people.”
He added: “I don’t have any fears about the training – I’m looking forward to all of it.”
The new soldiers, whose introduction to the military was delayed by last month’s hurricanes and again because of the General Election, joined with strict Covid-19 regulations in force, including limits on the number of troops in barrack rooms and regular health checks.
Rysheka Hayward-Evans, 24, from Smith’s, said she had served in the former Cadets as a schoolgirl and liked military life.
The psychology student at Huddersfield University in the UK added she would be doing the course online in the meantime because of the pandemic and seized the chance to join up.
She said: “I joined for new opportunities and new friendships. I hope to see a difference in my personal development, gain new friends and have more opportunities with everything the Regiment has to offer. I’m really excited to start a new adventure.”
But Pte Hayward-Evans added she would also like to put her professional skills to use when she qualified as a psychologist and introduce a counselling service in the RBR attached to the medics.
Private Robert Edwards, 20, of Paget, said he joined the RBR Band & Corps of Drums aged just 16 because Colour Sergeant Sheldon Fox, the trainee Bandmaster, was a huge influence on him as a music teacher at Sandys Secondary Middle School.
The accountancy student at St Augustine’s University in North Carolina in the US, who is also working from home at present, added: “I always wanted to do Recruit Camp for the challenge and the new experience, but never had the opportunity because I was either at school or working through the summer.”
He added: “I guess I’m looking forward to the rifles most. I’ve never done that before.”
Lance Corporal Shaquille Smith, 27, the 1 Section commander, said: “I’m still getting to know them and get their names right, but they look like a good bunch.”
L/Cpl Smith, from Bailey’s Bay, said he hoped to give the raw recruits “motivation to become what I am and to push themselves”.
He added: “I want to see them leave Recruit Camp at the top – hopefully the best section and with a sense of camaraderie and an appreciation of what the Regiment means.”
L/Cpl Smith said it was his first Recruit Camp as an instructor, but that he had taught on the Junior Non-commissioned Officers’ Cadre and that he was “looking forward to the next two weeks”.
Lieutenant Samuel Hewitt, 27, from Sandys, is the platoon leader for Recruit Camp.
He said: “From the moment they came in, many of them looked to be very keen and willing, which a great thing to see at the start.”
Sergeant Tashon De Silva, who normally works in recruitment, said he was seconded to the Motor Transport Section for the camp.
He added: “Recruiting has been going well – because of the pandemic and our performance, we have a lot of people talking to us about joining.”
Sgt De Silva said it was important to get the message out to school leavers and students to “get a structure and knowledge of how to organise their lives”.
He added: “The Regiment would be beneficial for them. It’s a good opportunity to earn some money to go away to school or to gain skills that can help them land a job.
“It’s a great stepping stone for them to do that with the help of the Regiment.”