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Airborne Signallers battle to be the best

From map reading to weapon handling and swimming to first aid, airborne signallers have competed against each other to be the best and earn the title ‘Super Tom’.

Colchester-based 216 (Parachute) Signal Squadron held a skills competition yesterday (Thu 21 Nov), with some 20 signallers competing for the Corporal Steven Dunn Trophy, named in honour of a soldier from the unit killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

In full battle rig, the soldiers navigated their way around an individual circuit of the town’s Merville Barracks and Friday Woods training area, taking in stands that tested the full range of their physical, military and leadership skills and knowledge.

Signaller Luke Platts emerged as the Super Tom, a variant of the First World War nickname ‘Tommy’ for the common British soldier. The 22-year-old from Chesterfield said: “The contest was a tough day that tested everyone’s soldiering skill, and even general knowledge. To get your brain in gear for a written test about the history of airborne forces when you’re cold, wet and tired was a challenge!

I’m really proud to have won and be the Super Tom Sig Platts

Major Terry Harrison, Officer Commanding 216 (Para) Sig Sqn, said: “We have some very capable signallers and this competition gave them a chance to demonstrate their skills, character and potential for promotion. I was impressed by the ability and effort shown by all, and well done to Signaller Platts for coming out on top.”


216 (Para) Sig Sqn is trained and equipped to deploy by parachute or helicopter to provide specialist communications support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force.