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My life in the
1st Battalion Irish Guards

The Colours of the Household Division.
Meeting the Queen, 1997

The Colours of the Household Division.

 

I am 25027818 C/Sergeant Taylor and I am a serving member of 1st Bn Irish Guards.

I arrived at Alexander Barracks, Pirbright on 4th July 1993. At the time the old Guards Depot had just changed to the Army Training Regiment and instead of completing all 23 weeks of training at Pirbright, you did the first 10 weeks here and then you progressed to ITC Catterick for the remainder.

After the initial shock of Army life had gone, I settled down into the routine of a hard day's training and then a hard night's swabbing . Although the training was hard and having to be self-sufficient was a shock I soon started to enjoy it.

After 10 weeks of learning the basic skills that I needed to know to be in the Army it was time for the first of two pass-out parades.

It was exciting as all our parents were there and it was the first time that we were on parade in front of civilians. I was lucky enough to be nominated Best Recruit of the platoon and had to march out the front to get my prize.

After a short weekend leave I arrived at ITC Catterick to learn the skills that would make me into an Irish Guardsman.

The training at Catterick was a lot more intense but at the same time a lot more rewarding. We got to learn about all of the section and platoon weapons and our shooting skills were honed. We learned about signals and our drill was taken a stage further by learning the slow march and all about the ceremonial duties that we would be doing if and when we reached our Battalions.

After 13 very cold and tiring weeks it was time for pass-out parade number two. This time it was a much more grand affair with the parade being a mini Trooping of the Colour.

Again all the Parents were there and I was awarded the Best Trainee Guardsman prize.

The best part of the parade was at the end when the platoon commander said 'Guardsman to your Battalions, quick march', after 23 weeks of being called a recruit , trainee guardsman or worse I was now a fully-fledged Guardsman.

My first posting was to Elizabeth Barracks where the Irish Guards were serving.

I was quickly fitted out with my home service kit and was ready to start stagging on the Royal palaces and my first Trooping of the Colour.

After a short time the battalion moved to Chelsea Barracks in London for a good two year stint of public duties. During this time we deployed on a Battle Group exercise to Wainwright, Canada for six weeks.

We then underwent the Battalion's second tour of Northern Ireland for six months in East Tyrone. During the pre-training for the tour I was put on a promotion cadre at FGPRCC which I subsequently passed and I was promoted to L/Cpl in Northern Ireland to become a team commander of a four-man brick.

When we got back we then had another stint of public duties and yet another Trooping of the Colour. The Battalion then moved back to Elizabeth Barracks and almost straight after I deployed with Four Company to the Oman for a Company exercise in desert warfare.

After we got back I was then sent to Brecon on the Section Commanders Battle course which I passed and returned to the Battalion after three tiring months.

After yet another Trooping of the Colour I was asked if I wanted a posting to ATR Pirbright as an instructor. After a few moments thought I agreed and upon completing the Guards Potential Instructors course I was posted to Guards Company as an instructor for two years. During my time instructing in the ATR I taught and molded many Guardsmen who are now on their own careers within their Battalions.

I left the ATR in January 2000 which meant I missed going over the border in a peacekeeping role in Kosova with the rest of the Battalion.

I rejoined the Battalion in Münster, Germany. I was placed in Recce Platoon, Support Company where I took the role of Section Commander.

After arriving back at Battalion I was sent back to England to complete the Armoured Infantry Recce Section Commanders course. This course lasted three months and covered all aspects of Recce in the Armoured role from Driving and Maintenance of the CVR(T) to learning how to fire the 30mm main armament and then onto Learning the Tactics that are required to be known. In January of 2001 I went to the AFV Gunnery School at Lulworth to complete the Regimental Gunnery Instructor's course for the CVR(T). This I passed with a Distinction and I am now one of the Platoon's Gunnery Instructors.

Since completing the Gunnery Instructors course, I have deployed with the Battalion on several overseas exercises. These were in Poland, BATUS (British Army Training Unit Suffolk) Canada and for Exercise Saif Sareea in the Oman. In each of these exercises I was a Section Commander for the Recce Platoon. The exercises were conducted at a minimum level of Battle Group and at times were extremely hard work but enjoyable.

At the start of the year 2002 I embarked on my next course, The Platoon Sergeants Battle course which is held at Infantry Training Centre Wales. This is without doubt the hardest single thing I have ever been asked to do, both physically and mentally. However I passed the course well and looked forward to my next step up the ladder.

The majority of the remainder of the year was spent in-camp training where I ran internal Gunnery courses and taught on the Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cardres. Additionally, I spent 3 months at the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) in Sennelager, testing the new £300 million Armoured Warfare Trainer. Towards the end of the year I was promoted and posted to ITC Catterick as a Platoon Sergeant.

I was recalled to Germany for the pending operations in the Gulf. Since the start of the new year I have been with Number Two Company, training for this.

To read about how I got on click on the picture below.


Sgt Taylor and LSgt Brown  planning for an operation in Iraq.
The Colours of the Household Division.
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