Reservists from 1st Battalion London Guards dedicated the week before the Coronation to Exercise Cockney Warrior, a comprehensive revitalisation of their military prowess. Set in the rugged expanse of the Sennybridge Training area, the soldiers underwent a rigorous regimen to hone their skills.
The training sessions were diverse and demanding, encompassing live firing exercises across an array of ranges. From precision pairs fire and strategic manoeuvres to dynamic section attacks, every aspect of their soldiering expertise was put to the test.
Against the rugged backdrop of the Brecon Beacons, they took on many challenges – mastering field-craft, shooting, navigation, leadership, first aid, and fitness. Amid the intense training, they got an occasional breather in the rustic charm of one of the many barns dotting the area.
This exercise was no small endeavour. Companies including Scots Guards, Irish Guards, Coldstream Guards, and Grenadier Guards, from across London, invested weeks developing their capabilities. These companies comprise individuals from many walks of life – teachers, electricians, managers, students, shop assistants – reflecting the diversity of London itself.
While their civilian commitments normally allow for training just one evening a week and one weekend a month, the excitement of immersive field training is unparalleled. Stepping away from routine, these part-time soldiers wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to deep dive into the complexity of modern infantry skills.
Capturing the essence of live section attacks with real ammunition, one Reservist says, ‘It’s hard to describe the adrenaline rush you get. Physically demanding, you’ve got to stay switched on, but there’s a team around you, and you just kind of push through.’
These Londoners, straddling the worlds of civilian and military life, often receive additional leave from their regular jobs to take part in such intense training. They may be part-time soldiers, but their commitment is unwavering – a testament to their full-time dedication as Guards.