FIRST FUSILIERS
1st Bn Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

2015









2014
I thought you might be interested in the latest bulletin from Y Company First Fusiliers currently on Ex ASKARI STORM in Kenya.

Capt (Retd) A R G Harris

Assistant Regimental Secretary

FIRST FUSILIERS

Y COMPANY GROUP NEWSLETTER

No. 14/1 Exercise ASKARI STORM, Kenya

Hello and welcome to the first Y Company Newsletter – typed in the hot and challenging climate of Kenya. I hope this Newsletter is useful in providing you with a regular update of what the company is up to. Our current deployment in Kenya is the first of three overseas exercises that Y Company will undertake over the next 12 months so expect a steady flow of these dispatches!


Patrolling from our enhanced harbour area – the razor wire is to keep out inquisitive animals – and locals!


As I type, 7 and 9 Platoon are just returning from the local training area where they have been for 7 days; 8 Platoon returned yesterday. We now have 36 hours in the relative comfort of Laikipia Air Base before heading out again on another 9 day exercise. Training out here is hard work, not least because we are doing battle with the hot weather and 1900m altitude, as well as the array of biting insects, scratching bushes and bruising terrain. We have had some close encounters with snakes and spiders but no harm has come to us.


The troops’ resilience and determination has impressed me; we have conducted 5 days of company training where we practiced navigation by night, recce patrols and section attacks. We also enjoyed spectacular and unspoilt views of Mount Kenya from our harbour area and everyone saw a good number of giraffes, zebras, camels and elephants. Indeed at least two sections claim to have been stalked by hyenas on one night-time exercise. Fortunately that was as close as they got! Our own company training exercise culminated with a game of football against the locals from the nearby town. Sadly in spite of our best efforts and a weakened team, we succumbed to Kinamba FC 4-1.

Fusilier Evans Omane battles locals for possession


7 Platoon operating at night


Since being back in camp, we have continued to keep fit with regular running sessions. There now appears to be a young contender to be the fastest man in the Company – not something Company Sergeant Major John Mcowliff will give up easily! In the background, Company Quartermaster Sergeant Mark ‘Spud’ Taylor and his team have taken a break from conducting local safaris (otherwise known as daily ‘admin’ runs to FOB SWARA) and they have been busy packing food, cookers, camp cots and a barbeque onto our company trucks in preparation for our move up north. The whole Company – including our chefs, mechanics, signallers and medic – will be deploying to FOB TWIGA, an austere operating base in the midst of the Archers Post training area, for 9-10 days. We will be mounting regular attacks against our exercise ‘enemy’: the Third Battalion, The Rifles, and will be putting into practice the skills we refreshed earlier in the week. What’s more, it’s at least 10 degrees hotter up there so there’ll be the added challenge of dealing with the heat.

We will compile another Newsletter whilst operating from FOB TWIGA ready for sending out at the start of June. In the meantime, please enjoy this first edition and I wish all of you back home all the very best and I look forward to getting to know you over the next 2 years.

Major Alex Mills

Officer Commanding

Y Company

The week in pictures…


8 Platoon post-football with the locals in Kinamba


CQMS Mark Taylor briefs up his CQ party


Lance Corporal Malcolm ‘Captain’ Carew sports his new attire


Sgt Andrew Chappel, OC 7 Platoon, during platoon night exercises


Kinamba 4-1 Y Company. A brave performance from Y Company in spite of having 2 men fewer and struggling somewhat in the heat!


Meeting the locals..


Cpl Mike Anderson REME: the classic ‘soldier abroad selfie’…


Corporal Mike Anderson (REME): “We visited Ol Maisor school whilst the Company played a friendly football match against the local team. The school caters for children from 4 years old right through to 16. Mr Peters introduced me to his primary class who were eager to learn about everything you would expect to see in a UK syllabus. Their character, spirit, and willingness to learn was inspirational.”

Notes from 8 Platoon by Captain Rob Whittle, 8 Platoon Commander

The first 10 or so days here in Kenya have been very fast paced, and the Fusiliers have responded to with their usual look of absolute distain and disgust. However, once we deployed into the field and away from the RAF movement controllers the mood was raised. After a quick 36 hours in camp we deployed on an epic 6 hour infil/safari in the comfort of the MAN Trucks, where upon reaching our destination (the middle of nowhere) we set up our home for the next week. A ring of barbed wire around a few trucks may not sound like much, and it isn’t! It did give the Fusiliers a sense of security however, as much from the locals as from animals as proven when a certain other platoon commander decided to demonstrate the effectiveness of the wire by getting himself trapped – requiring the services of one of his young Fusiliers to free him… folks, don’t try this at home!

The pace of life on exercise was challenging at all levels, with some members of the company labelling it ‘Y Coy Selection’ but for those who are going on an obvious course in the future will look back on this as excellent preparation, and may find the actual course a walk in the park now! With some progression we ended the 5 day package with a solid foundation at section level and had operated as a platoon, at night, with a great deal of success. Both myself and Sergeant Nick Smith were proud of the effort all the Fusiliers were putting in. A particular highlight was managing to hide in an LUP (laying up point) after a night infiltration, so effectively that we couldn’t be found by the OC and CSM, even with an accurate grid reference! After a long final day of tabbing and lessons we finished the exercise with a company photo (meaning that they had all passed the cadre!), that I’m sure many readers will get bored of being shown this photo soon.


We then moved on to support B Company, 3 Rifles for 48 hours on their confirmatory exercise. This again proved to be a busy time with the whole platoon either involved with attack lanes, or building up positions in support of B Company’s training. After giving the rifles a hard fight (whilst still screwing the nut!) we then moved back to camp for 36 hours of administration (cleaning weapons, clothing and bodies) before deploying out again early doors tomorrow. All the members of the platoon send their regards to their significant others, and have just got back from the curio shops having bought plenty of souvenirs to take home. We are looking forward to deploy to Archers Roast (sic) for the next 10 day phase, harassing more Riflemen!

I’d like to take this time to say that it is an absolute pleasure commanding mature Fusiliers of this calibre and that you should be proud of your son or partner, as he really is earning his pay out here.

8 Platoon quotes of the week…

Sgt Nick Smith: This is the worst yoghurt ever.

Capt Rob Whittle: Isn’t that jam?

Sgt Nick Smith: …(pause)… Yes, yes it is.

Fus Tom Peek: But it had the cold, red, lifeless eyes of a killer (on being questioned as to why he fired a miniflare into the darkness).

Fus Ryan Hodnett: Just fire it, the platoon Sergeant will never find out… (he did)

Fus Kristopher Stirling: Boss, didn’t you say this exercise was going to be buckshee?!? (I didn’t!)

Fus Annonymous: Fus Hogg; half man – half turbo clip.


2013