“Mastering the Range” – A field visit to A (London Scottish) Company at Pirbright
On Sunday 4th August, the Master and Steward, James Higgins, visited our Army Reserve Unit (A (London Scottish) Company at Pirbright in Surrey. A Company, together with the other Companies of The London Regiment, were on a training weekend at Pirbright to complete their Annual Personal Weapons Test (APWT) ensuring that every member of the Company has meet the standard required (a score of 42 out of 50 shots fired from various distances from 100m to 400m).
On the Sunday, the Regiment were joined by guests from across their Livery affiliates, and external stakeholders including Local Government officials as part of their Community Engagement programme. Also in attendance was Major-General Ranald Munro, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff and the most senior tri-service Reservist in the UK Armed Forces. The Master had a chance to speak for some time with the Major General on the importance of our military affiliations and on how, together, we can spread the important work of our Armed Forces. The discussion covered a wind range of topical subjects from the work of HMS Montrose in protecting shipping lanes for British ships in the Middle East, and the important work of the Army in helping shore up the dam at Whaley Bridge to the Major General’s love of 30 year-old Dalmore!
Later in the morning there was a chance to see the Company take part (in teams of 4) in a “march and shoot” competition involving a 2 mile run in full combat gear (including their personal weapon (the SA80 Rifle) and ammunition) finishing at the range and followed by a 100m dash to the 200m firing point to fire 5 rounds each at a series of 20 plate targets. It sounds easy enough but rest assured with heart and lungs pounding after a 2 miler on a hot August day it wasn’t.
Following the conclusion of the March and Shoot, the London Regiment’s guests were given the opportunity to fire the SA80 rifle (the standard issue service rifle of the British Armed Forces) on the 25 metre range. This was a first for the Master and under the watchful eye of A Company’s Major Jamie Barklem (and Freeman of the Company) he managed to ensure that the Company didn’t disgrace itself in front of the watching Jocks! Afterwards, there was a chance to chat to a number of members of A Company, including several who have been recipients of Distillers’ prizes in recent years, and discuss future opportunities to see A Company in action.