11th August 2022 marked the successful completion of initial training for over 500 of the British Army’s newest soldiers in North Yorkshire.
A crowd of around 4,000 family members and friends watched as the Junior Soldiers (JS), who were all under the age of 18 when they joined up, marched off the parade square.
The Army Foundation College (AFC) in Harrogate, hosts arguably the most comprehensive basic soldier training in the world, tailored exclusively to Junior Soldiers, who are all under the age of 18 when they join up.
This is an Army that is currently mobilising to prevent the spread of war in Europe Gen Sir Patrick Sanders
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Farebrother MC, Commanding Officer of the AFC, said: “These soldiers represent the very best of our nation’s young people. They are now ready for their second phase of training which will hone the skills learnt here and develop those required for their chosen trade.
“They follow in the footsteps of those who have graduated from the Army Foundation College before them and gone onto great careers in the British Army.”
The parade marks not only the successful completion of 42 weeks and 21 weeks of training for the long and short courses respectively, but also the 75th anniversary of Harrogate’s Uniacke Barracks.
These soldiers represent the very best of our nation’s young people Lt Col Farebrother
The courses today include a range of modules including military training, education, leadership and initiative development, sport, and adventurous training.
Those who passed the long course will now attend training with the Infantry, Royal Armoured Corps, and the Driver trade of the Royal Logistic Corps while a myriad of different units await those who completed the short course.
The Senior Inspecting Officer, General Sir Patrick Sanders KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen, Chief of the General Staff, said: “There are some moments in a person’s life that they remember forever. These are the moments that matter. This is one of those moments.
“This is an Army that is currently mobilising to prevent the spread of war in Europe. It is a task inherently linked to our core purpose - to protect the nation by being ready to fight and win wars.”
The College is known as one of the most effective education establishments in the United Kingdom and, as an Ofsted Outstanding institution, it represents the jewel in the crown of the British Army’s training engine.
JS Perks was considered the best recruit of the summer graduation and she was awarded the privilege of marching her peers off the square for the final time.