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Soldiering skills of singing Chelsea Pensioner in tune with next generation

Chelsea Pensioner and melodic singer Colin Thackery proved he was in tune with the next generation of soldiers when he inspected Army Reserves at the Pass Off Parade at Army Training Regiment Grantham.

Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Colin Thackery, a Korean War veteran, inspected the parade and took the salute in front of the soldiers’ proud families and friends. WO2 Thackery rose to fame when his melodic voice captivated the audience, winning the ITV talent competition 'Britain’s Got Talent 2019'.

But it was his military experience that was in demand at the parade where he presented a series of awards. These included awards for Best Shot from each Platoon, which was presented to Craftsman Moor and Private Bushell. The prize for the Champion Recruit was received by Sapper Brooks and Private Edden.

Born in 1930, Colin served in the 45th Field Regiment during the Korean war, having joined the Army at 15 years of age. He is now one of around 300 Chelsea Pensioners who reside at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

“You are an essential part of the British Army and will play an integral part in the Army’s four main responsibilities which are to protect the UK, to fight its enemies, to prevent conflict and to deal with disaster.” WO2 Colin Thackery

The parade marked the successful completion of the Reserves’ basic training. This included either 10 days of consolidated or weekend training alongside a distance learning package. The training culminated with a 16-day residential training course at the Army Training Regiment Grantham, Prince William of Gloucester Barracks.

The soldiers had just returned from their week-long final exercise in Longmoor where they practised their military skills and fieldcraft, ending with a final demanding attack.

Addressing the soldiers on parade, WO2 Thackery said: “You are an essential part of the British Army and will play an integral part in the Army’s four main responsibilities which are to protect the UK, to fight its enemies, to prevent conflict and to deal with disaster.”

He concluded: “If you get half as much fun out of your service as I did in my 25-years then you are in for a great time. May I wish you good luck and God speed.”

The course is designed to teach everything an Army Reserve recruit needs to know to become an effective soldier and fulfil their role within the Army Reserve – from military terminology, drill and how to wear uniform, to physical fitness, weapon handling, first aid, field craft and map reading.

Following the Pass Off Parade, the soldiers who have joined Army Reserve units from a variety of cap badges and Corps, including the Royal Logistic Corps, Intelligence Corps and the Royal Army Medical Corps, will return to their units to complete their initial trade training.

The course is delivered by the Army Training Regiment Grantham whose instructors have been specially selected and trained.

All Army Reserves are paid during their training. The pay scale is based on what a regular soldier with the same job and rank would receive and increases as a soldier gains experience and is promoted.