Student Connor Paterson had to pass a battery of fitness tests before he was accepted as a recruit with the British Army. He will join up in July and will undergo 49 weeks of basic training in Harrogate, followed by a further 20 weeks at Catterick before he joins his regiment.
Connor has wanted to enlist since he was a child and has already been in the Army cadets for the past three years. After applying via the Army Careers service he was invited to a selection day in Lichfield where he and 50 other potential recruits were put through their paces.
He said: ‘My uncles have been in the Army and it is my dream career. I have done everything I could to make sure I was selected. There were a lot of fitness tests, I had to run one and a half miles in under 14 minutes and I did it in just under 11 minutes. I also had to do a power bag lift. The first bag was 15kg and they increased each time by 5kg to a maximum of 40kg. I had to lift each about 1.64m off the ground, throw it back down again and keep repeating it. We also did grenade training, practising throwing rubber grenades. It was fun and if the adrenaline hadn’t kicked in I don’t think we would have got selected because you are pumped up and we just went for it.
‘I know that there will be a lot of discipline in the Army, but at the end you are going to come out a better person. I try not to think about the danger aspect. I am joining as a junior private and if I get promoted during Harrogate I will be a lance corporal and hopefully by the time I get into the main army I can reach the rank of lance corporal or corporal, it depends on how hard I work.’
Connor’s basic training will involve skill at arms, where he will have to learn how to maintain and shoot a weapon, as well as grenade training and lots of fitness challenges. He is used to hard physical work, having worked as part of the grounds maintenance team at Brooke Weston:
‘I have really enjoyed working outdoors on the grounds and think that I have been pretty good at it. I would rather be outdoors 24/7 than be stuck indoors. I will miss Brooke Weston and a few people here and am really looking forward to joining the Army. I have signed up for the next 12 years to join the 1st Battalion the Highlanders, the Royal Regiment of Scotland.’