Reserve soldiers with HQ Company, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment in Lisburn, have been reflecting on a busy year past and preparing for just as busy one ahead.
During the year HQ Company saw a number of significant changes with the most significant one being the move of both Battalion and Company Head Quarters from Portadown to Lisburn.
The other change was that of Command with Major Mark Livingstone a local Lisburn man replacing Major Maurice Shilliday after three years in command as he moved to Queens University Officer Training Corp. Other changes in the Company were the Administration Officer, Training Officer Intelligence Officer and Regimental Signals Officer. All in all a major change for many key roles at the same time as the move. As part of the move to Lisburn the Company also formed a Combat Assault Pioneer Platoon. This involved the re rolling of the Rifle Platoon into a specialist skills Platoon which can undertake numerous jobs supporting the infantry as soldiers cross natural and man-made obstacles as well as breaching of enemy fortifications or construction of field defences.
Training began in earnest during annual camp in September where they underwent specialist to role training with an ‘Infantry Assault Soldier Cadre’ that formed up with 22 soldiers. The content of the cadre covered Minefield Breaching and Safe Lane Marking including the use of Demolitions, Sandbagging and Power Tools, IED’s, Booby traps using trip flare & Claymore and building an Infantry Assault Bridge. The Cadre proved a great success with all participants successfully completing the Cadre and achieving an Infantry Assault Soldier qualification similar to a ‘BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Relief Operation Skills’ which can be used in civilian jobs.
The Company now will look to identify individuals within the Platoon to undertake further specialist training at the School of Land Warfare, Warminister and Thiepval Barracks Lisburn as part of their career development within the Assault Pioneer Platoon which is now firmly established in Lisburn. November is always a busy period with the company stretched in support of Remembrance events.
As HQ Company bids farewell to 2014, they look forward to 2015 when they will continue to play their part all aspects of Battalion life from recruiting new members to developing our soldiers’ skills through career courses and training deployments in Cyprus and Germany with sister Battalion 1 R IRISH and an operational deployment in support of the UN in Cyprus.