Young soldiers go marching on together

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Junior soldiers marked their first milestone in their Army training yesterday by taking part in a landmark parade.

The soldiers from the Army Foundation College, in Harrogate, took part in their first passing-in parade at the site as family and friends looked on.

More than 600 junior soldiers, who are aged between 16 and 17 years of age, marked their first six weeks in the Army by marching on to the parade square at Uniacke Barracks in Penny Pot Lane yesterday.

Relatives and friends of the junior soldiers were invited to watch and had the opportunity to see the new recruits for the first time since they began their training programme.

Young soldiers destined for careers in the Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Artillery and the Infantry took part in yesterday’s parade.

Lieutenant Colonel Khashi Sharifi, who is the commanding officer at the college, was the inspecting officer for both Cambrai and Peninsular company parades.

He said: “This is just the start of the junior soldiers’ Army career and the first of many milestones for them.

“They should be proud of what they have achieved so far.”

The 16-year-olds began a mix of military, leadership, educational and vocational training at the college in September and will finish the 42-week course in August next year.

The teenagers will then undertake the more specialist second stage of their training at other bases around the UK before joining their regiments.

Each junior soldier has taken part in an overnight exercise, weekend activities which include kayaking and rock climbing and learned how to march as part of their studies.

After yesterday’s parade, the junior soldiers left the college for a week-long period of leave.

The new recruits will return in November to start the next part of their training at the Harrogate college.