First day of recruit camp

The sky drizzles of rain as it slowly brightens signaling the beginning of another day. Largely overcast, grey clouds cover the sky as anxious and nervous new recruits of the Bermuda Regiment huddle outside the front gates of Warwick camp. Inside, regiment personel are positioned and ready to receive the new recruits as a handful of press cameras line the entry roadway to document the recruits as they arrive.

Huddled outside the front gate the new recruits anxiously and nervously await the entry into their new home of the next two weeks and the beginning of their minimum 3 year, 2 month and 2 week term in part time service in Bermuda’s army. Some have a faint idea of what to expect, having talked to friends and family who have served in the past, others have imagined and some enter with no expectations.

As the clock ticks within minutes of 8am, a squad of troops are marched around in preparation. The rain turns from drizzle to steadly sleet as the Company Sergeant Major (CSM) yells out the command “Guards! Open the Gate!” causing a torrent of troops to pour through the gates and scurry into camp.

Standing cold and in the rain, some have thought ahead to wear their issued rainsuits, others not. The recruits line up and listen to instructions from the CSM. Calls and shouting emerge from outside the front gate as people have gathered to watch the new recruits begin their new camp, with some there for encouragement while others there for entertainment.

As the recruits stand there, the CSM goes down the list sounding out names as each recruit is instructed to go and join their new corporal, section and platoon; their regimental brothers for the next two weeks as well as the rest of the year.

In a change from last years camp, the late stragglers coming in through the gates are no longer being gripped and led along by the guards to hurry them into camp, perhaps an aspect of changes within first day procedures or a result of the extra media coverage. Those arriving late are encouraged to run by the Regimental Police guards as well as the jeering crowd outside. Appearently even rain won’t keep away those who enjoy the spectacle.

This years new recruits have two weeks of 18 hour days of initial training in basic army skills and tactics to look forward to. This along with marching, kit and equipment maintenance and basic life skills. Today’s schedule, being no exception, begins with a morning of brief orientation and a firepower demonstration of the regiment’s assortment of weaponry. Following lunch, recruits will be introduced to the weapons assigned to them for their entire stint in regiment and will be instructed on the basics of marching. The day concluding with an evening introduction to the basics of kit maintenance including boot polishing, ironing and the functioning of their regimental equipment.

So begins recruit camp 2008.

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