Midlands Soldiers On Desert Exercise

Eighty-Nines soldiers from the Midlands and North West are currently on a desert exercise with their counterparts from the Jordanian Armed Forces.

Exercise Olive Grove saw the troops from A (Grenadier) Company, 2nd Battalion The Mercian
Regiment (2 Mercian) deploy to Al Quwayrah in Jordan on 14 January.


The exercise will run until 6 February after which the soldiers will return to their base in Cyprus.

The training builds the British and Jordanian troops’ readiness for operations in the demanding
conditions of the desert and shares each other’s skills.

Major Mike Brigham MBE, Officer Commanding A (Grenadier) Company 2 Mercian, said:

“I’ve had 25 new soldiers join the Battalion who have never been overseas with the Army, other than
Cyprus where we are based, and this is their first experience of an arid environment."

“We have to be ready to deploy anywhere across the globe. This environment is exactly what our
soldiers need to be training in.”

The troops have been trained in trench and urban operations while a joint live fire demonstration was
the highlight of a distinguished visitors’ day on 28 January.

When not taking part in arduous military training, the soldiers have enjoyed cultural trips to Petra,
Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea and have taken part in sporting competitions with their Jordanian

The troops have also repaired and decorated a community centre for refugees from Syria run by the
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Lance Corporal Archie Galbraith, 25, from Stoke-on-Trent, said:

“We are trained to expect anything and to be ready to overcome it. We will work with anyone who
joins the Battalion and make them a better soldier.

“It’s been enjoyable training alongside and socialising with the Jordanian soldiers. The Brits have
proven to be the better footballers but the Jordanians have been the better dancers!”