From first aid to fire and manoeuvre, the soldiers of 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron have competed against each other on Exercise Mercury Dagger.
Based on the format of the British Army’s Cambrian Patrol - recognised as the world’s toughest patrolling challenge - the airborne signallers’ section competition tested the full range of their basic soldiering skills on the rugged terrain of Sennybridge, south Wales.
It’s always good to get a parachute jump in L/Cpl Dagnall
The troops parachuted in and occupied overnight harbour areas before a day-long patrol around Sennybridge, encountering incidents along the way that tested their skills. The signallers had to extract a casualty from a minefield, man a vehicle checkpoint, call in artillery fire and carry out section attacks on enemy positions.”
Lance Corporal Dean Smailes-Peart, 23 from Middlesbrough, said: “We’re a high readiness unit, so a lot of our day-to-day work is about ensuring radios and communications equipment are maintained and ready to go. It’s been refreshing to break away from that and concentrate on our basic skills and drills as soldiers.”
Lance Corporal Pete Dagnall, 24 from Lincoln, said: “It’s always good to get a parachute jump in, and I had soft landing, but digging in afterwards wasn’t as enjoyable! The patrolling and tasks we’ve had to do on the ground have been a good challenge, and it’s important to test skills that we don’t use every day but would need on operations.”
216 (Para) Sig Sqn is trained and equipped to deploy by parachute, helicopter or airlanding to provide specialist communications support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force.