4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment
CO: Lt Col M Yates
XO: Maj D Prew
RSM: WO1 M Syron
2IC: Maj SP Hindmarch
Adjt: Capt M-A Poots
By Lt Col Mark Yates
The Battalion is currently enjoying some down time after what has been an unusually busy time. This is often a well-used opening to these journal articles however in this case I feel it genuinely applies. I have been extremely proud of what we have achieved and the commitment and enthusiasm of all those in the Battalion in recent months. From increasing military civil engagement across the region to overseas training and paired exercises we have actively sought out activities that have fulfilled the Reserve ‘Offer’; to ensure we have a training year that offers something for everyone in the Battalion retain people and attract new soldiers and officers to join our ranks.
Training continues to go well and we have enjoyed a number of highlights. Ex MORLANCOURT saw a platoon deploy to Australia for a demanding field exercise and Ex LION STAR saw a section plus attached to 5 RRF in Cyprus. The extremely busy period of training 2 YORKS have recently gone through has given us the opportunity to conduct some paired activity and get some soldiers away. In total, more than 80 soldiers have engaged in demanding and interesting deployments over the last 12 months.
I recently visited the Combat Infantryman’s Course (CIC) and Senior Division at the Infantry Battle School (IBS) to meet some of our soldiers and future commanders. It is reassuring that, while achievable, these courses are not applying different standards for the Reserves. The CFT route with the Reserve CIC Course on Catterick training area was as testing as any I have completed. I am glad to say none of the 4 YORKS recruits dropped out, or indeed had any problems with the assessment. The Platoon Sergeants’ Battle Course is an integrated course where Reserve soldiers join the course for 2 weeks on Ex HARD POUNDING. It is tough, with individual Reserves being dropped into a section that has already been together for a few weeks with no compromises made. It is difficult but not impossible and, if we are to garner any respect, it is a necessity. I was particularly impressed with the training teams at Catterick and Brecon; who bring the best out of all the students while ensuring the training is rigorous and demanding. We in the Reserves can only get back a better soldier and commander as a result and I see this as a great step forward in our continued professionalization.
All the Companies have actively supported an increased level of engagement with a number of key minorities engagement activities, such as cricket matches and multi-cultural leadership training days. Current levels of engagement are unprecedented and demonstrate that with some imagination and by working smarter we can achieve a diverse number of tasks. This summer also saw the Regimental profile rise even higher in the region. These events included the Yorkshire 10th Anniversary Parade organised by the XO and supported by Helmand Coy (and detachments from 1 and 2 YORKS); Armed Forces Days that saw the Yorkshire Regiment Band and the Recruiting Teams deploy to every part of the region, promoting what the Army, both Regular and Reserve can do; and Somme 100 Commemoration activities. In addition, Freedom Parades with 1 and 2 YORKS and a large presence at the Great Yorkshire Show capped off a successful period of community engagement for not just the Bn but also for the Regiment.
Recruitment continues to go well and is bucking the downturn that is evident in many other Units. The ROSO alongside the recruiting teams continues to produce an ever-increasing number of recruits for the Battalion. We have now passed the manned strength figure of 405 against an established strength of 495, with two years to go before we have to meet this target. The new recruiting material from RHQ has been well received and we are now looking to exploit social media to increase our influence. I also hope that the incredible efforts that B Coy in Middlesbrough have made in getting more recruits through the door will pay off as we wait for the A2020 Refine announcement in October. In the next Journal I hope to be reporting that it will become a permanently established part of the ORBAT and re-designated as Quebec Coy.
For all the huge positives we have enjoyed we have also endured a period where a number of staff have been very ill. Thelma was the G7 Clerk in BHQ and had been with us for a number of years. Her passing was sudden and, as her nickname would suggest, we are missing the huge contribution the ‘Oracle’ made to our training administration and keeping the XO on the straight and narrow.
Annual Training starts at Thetford in September before we deploy to the Lake District for Adventure Training, where I hope to be joined by elements of 2 YORKS. Concurrently, we will also take part in the Brigade military skills competitions, host the Defence TEWT and prepare for Ex CAMBRIAN PATROL. We expect to send a number of soldiers and officers on Op TORAL (Afghanistan) next year. This will become our operational focus while we also actively seek Overseas Training Exercise (OTX) opportunities to fulfil our commitment to offer a wide range of opportunities that will keep our soldiers interested, engaged, deliver what we need to do, get more recruits in through the door and retain those we already have in 4 YORKS.