Exercise Olive Grove – 3 Para training with Jordanian Army

Exercise Olive Grove has been undertaken by members of 3 Para who have been working with Jordan’s elite Quick Reaction Force on developing a range of infantry skills against the backdrop of the country’s harsh desert climate.

Major Rick Lewin, Officer Commanding of C Company, 3 Para told said:

What we’re trying to do is demonstrate the way we operate and give the Jordanians an opportunity to decide if they like that. Simultaneously, our soldiers are doing precisely the same thing, they’re watching the Jordanians whose shooting on the range is incredibly accurate, and also they were moving through the cover incredibly efficiently and quickly, so this is very much going both ways all the way through.


Soldier in Iraq killed by “accidental discharge”

The British soldier killed in a “shooting incident” in Iraq has been named as L/Cpl Scott Hetherington, 22 from 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. L/Cpl Hetherington was a vehicle commander in the Force Protection Platoon and is the first UK soldier to die in Iraq in nearly eight years.

It has been reported in The Guardian that his death was not the result of combat with Islamic State forces but was due to the accidental discharge of a colleague’s weapon. The incident occurred at the Iraqi training base at Taji, north of Baghdad where British forces are training Iraqi and Kurdish forces to combat Islamic State in Iraq.

L/Cpl Hetherington hailed from Middleton, Greater Manchester and last year became a father to a daughter. An inquest has been launched into his death.

British Army and Sierra Leone defence forces in joint jungle training

Among the British units involved will be members of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards who are scheduled to be stationed in Sierra Leone until December. The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is supporting the exercise with their own troops as well as providing logistical and security services. As part of the exercise, work will be carried out on refurbishing the RSLAF’s Jungle Warfare School.

British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Guy Warrington said;

I am delighted that the Government of Sierra Leone invited the UK Armed Forces to exercises in Sierra Leone. The United Kingdom is grateful for this opportunity and is looking forward to the experience of training and learning alongside Sierra Leone’s military. This elevates the well established cooperation between our military forces to a new level and embodies our confidence in the defence partnership.

Christened Exercise: Guma Sun after the Guma Valley in Western Sierra Leone where it will take place, the exercise is the first time that the two countries have trained so extensively in jungle warfare together. As well as historic military and cultural links to Sierra Leone, British forces have in recent years been increasing its presence in the country. In 2000, during the late stages of the civil war a group of soldiers from the Royal Irish Regiment were ambushed by a militia group and held hostage resulting in a daring SAS operation to rescue them.

British forces and aid workers also assisted in combating the recent Ebola outbreak in the country and continues to provide assistance in helping with the recovery effort.

Soldier killed at RAF firing range in Scotland

A member of the armed forces that died at a military training range in Tain, Scotland is believed to have died actually on its rifle range. Civilian emergency and police units were dispatched to the range at about 5.55pm on Tuesday and a cordon was placed around the base located about 30 miles north of Inverness.

A spokesperson for the police said;

Police Scotland is leading the investigation to establish the full circumstances of this incident and is working closely with the armed forces. This was a contained incident and there was no threat to the public

The soldier’s name has yet to be revealed but the MoD have confirmed that their family has been informed. RAF Tain features a rifle and aerial bombing range and exercises are routinely conducted there by UK, NATO and US armed forces.

Reservists deployed to Falklands

Falklands sign

120 reserve paratroopers have been deployed to the Falkland Islands. It is the first time that a reserve force has been deployed to help garrison the islands since the British government was forced to fortify them in the wake of the 1982 Falklands War. The paratroopers are said to all hail from Lincoln in the East Midlands.

A source in the MoD told the Express;

This is a great opportunity to give them a focus. In the past we’ve pennypacketed reservists. You’d have a group of 20, including a sergeant, put in among regulars. It meant reservist officers never got to command. This allows them to experience duties which are difficult to do here.

The deployment reflects the British Army’s growing trend towards greater use of part-time forces to complement full-time personnel. Known as “Future Army 2020”, the aim is to integrate regular and reserve personnel in to a more harmonious force than has been the case in the past. This would consist of a planned 82,000 regular personnel supported by 30,000 trained reservists. A consequence of this will be that reserve troops will be deployed more frequently on operations in the future. The plan was conceived in 2012 as a response to the then coalition government’s sweeping reforms in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The MoD admits however that recruitment and retention of personnel is becoming an increasing problem. Recently, the Army introduced gift vouchers to soldiers who could convince friends to sign up indicating just how serious the problem is. Unfortunately, personnel shortages affect all branches of the armed forces and this will no doubt only further the use of reserve personnel in order to maintain the UK’s operational commitments.


British Army “Red Coat” combat patrol demonstration at Fortress Wales 2016

A demonstration of a typical combat patrol (pepper potting) by the British Army during the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars. Demonstration given by the 43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry at Fortress Wales 2016 at Caldicot Castle

(Gallery) Durham Light Infantry Museum

The Durham Light Infantry Museum was dedicated to preserving the history of the Durham Light Infantry. Unfortunately the museum closed earlier this week due to lack of funding shutting the door on 200 years of history.

The following photos were kindly donated to Defence of the Realm by Adam Jones whose mother took them for him during a recent visit to the museum before it closed. Adam’s grandfather served with the Durham Light Infantry during World War II and is in the process of recovering his grandfather’s records.

Adam has a photography blog on WordPress that you can view here.


If you have photographs or articles you wish to contribute to Defence of the Realm than you can email them to defencerealmyt@gmail.com. If successful you will of course be given full credit for your contribution and can even promote your own website.