Soldiers from 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (1 YORKS) have been delivering Formed Unit Training on Operation TURUS, in support of the African Federation of Nigeria, in the ongoing effort to combat extremist organisations in the north-east of Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin.
A team of 15 soldiers from Alma Company 1 YORKS, who are based in Catterick, have been delivering Section Rural Contact and Basic Battlefield Casualty Drills training to Nigeria’s 174 Battalion, providing soldiers with first-line primary health care skills vital for operations prior to their deployment in the Lake Chad Basin in September. This is only the second time Op TURUS has delivered this form of training and it has been a resounding success.
“As an experience for our own soldiers, one of whom has only left the UK once before, its proved to be incredibly challenging but it’s a fantastic opportunity to show that we can make a meaningful contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the region.” CAPTAIN HUGHES, 1ST BATTALION THE YORKSHIRE REGIMENT (1 YORKS)
Captain Hughes, the officer in charge of training, explained, “The soldiers of 174 Bn are highly enthusiastic and bring inexhaustive energy and good humour to their training. It’s sobering to consider the intensive nature of the training these soldiers receive prior to facing Boko Haram on operations, but it’s very rewarding to know the skills we’ve imparted might save a life in the years to come.”
The 1 YORKS soldiers have had to grasp the complexities of managing risk daily; testing skills learned during their own pre-deployment training on the hills of North Yorkshire, while operating 700km away from Op TURUS Headquarters. “As an experience for our own soldiers, one of whom has only left the UK once before, its proved to be incredibly challenging but it’s a fantastic opportunity to show that we can make a meaningful contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the region.” said Capt Hughes.
They also welcomed the Commander of Op TURUS, Colonel Neil Wright MBE, who took command in May this year. He was able to observe the Formed Unit Training for the first time and discuss ongoing training needs with 174 Battalion.
The team have stayed throughout in purpose-built accommodation, funded by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, alongside the Nigerian staff members. This inclusive environment demonstrates the positive relationship between UK and Nigeria that Op TURUS has experienced since its establishment in 2014, and the close living conditions have also afforded some competitive spirit with daily cooking competitions between the Nigerian and UK troops, using only what is available in a 10-man ration pack.
Alma Company will soon hand over to Burma Company who will conduct further training with a new sub-unit, demonstrating the Army’s ongoing commitment to peace and stability in the region.