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Lance Bombardier Harry Morrisey's eyes in the sky

Lance Bombardier Harry Morrisey, aged 22, originally from Davyhulme in Manchester, has deployed to the Balkans.

Harry currently serves with 32 Regiment Royal Artillery. This is the Army’s regiment which specialises in operating drone systems for target acquisition and surveillance purposes. The drones they use, or to give them their correct title, Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), play a crucial role in today’s battle space and on operations.

It was a rapid short notice deployment for Harry. He was relaxing after work on a Monday when he got a call from his chain of command to report to the office where he was told he would be on his way in five days’ time. On the Saturday he touched down in the Balkans aboard a Royal Air Force Voyager aircraft.

“I guess this deployment was on my radar – a few members of my battery were already there, I was ecstatic to be going. It's good working back in the UK, you get to see friends and family, but personally I want to be out and about, I don’t like being cooped up in camp doing the same old stuff every day. I want to be getting out to different places around the world – it’s what we all sign for really.”

I don’t like being cooped up in camp doing the same old stuff every day I want to be getting out to different places around the world – it’s what we all sign for really." Lance Bombardier Harry Morrisey

“I have been constantly on the move with my job and my family haven’t seen me that much, so deploying at such short notice isn’t too bad. I obviously told them as soon as I could so they’re happy."

"My family is used to the whole going away part of service because my dad was in the Army, so my mum and brother are happy and understand the sort of gig that is going on.”

The capabilities of UAS play a vital role. They are a real game changer with their cameras providing essential intelligence back to the operations room in order to make well informed decisions and orders.

Seldom do the troops from 32 Regiment RA get the chance to push their drones’ envelope, but whilst deployed, they are often afforded less airspace restrictions than in the UK.

So, while deployed to the Balkans, the troops seized the opportunity to make an attempt at the distance record for their Puma LE Uncrewed Aircraft System, a winged propeller driven model.

The 32 Regiment RA soldiers beat all other Army units with a distance of 55km from its launch site. Harry said, “We would never be able to get that in the United Kingdom because we just do not have the decongested air space. It’s great for the regiment that we’ve got the record, another bragging right!”

Harry said, “Although I was born in Manchester, I only lived there for a couple of years before moving down south because my dad served in the Royal Tank Regiment. He completed his full 22-years’ service and is now an Army Reservist. I grew up moving quite regularly because of his postings."

On reaching Year 7, Harry went to boarding school near London and on completing his education he returned home to his parents who were living in Warminster.

He continued, “I got a job working in Argos whilst I was waiting to be accepted into the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. I did my year at Harrogate and decided to join the Royal Artillery.”

Harry chose the Royal Artillery so that he could work with drones and be regularly deployed. His Army career has so far, as well as the Balkans, taken him to Estonia and Latvia where he worked with soldiers from Canada and Spain.

I spent a year working at the Joint Services’ Parachute Centre in Netheravon, Wiltshire and got the opportunity to go skydiving in Cyprus." Lance Bombardier Harry Morrisey

When not operating drones with the Royal Artillery, Harry can often be found falling through the sky at 120mph as he is an avid skydiver.

He said: “I spent a year working at the Joint Services’ Parachute Centre in Netheravon, Wiltshire and got the opportunity to go skydiving in Cyprus.”

However, it was his boyhood interest in drones, and a bit of encouragement from his dad that set him on his Army career path.

Harry added, “Before I joined the Army, I really enjoyed First Person View (FPV) drones - you wear small goggles, and you are looking through the drone itself.

"It is just a small quadcopter that races about doing acrobatic stuff and going through small gaps. People say, ‘Don’t have your hobby as a job’ but it did kind of influence what I’ve ended up doing, it opened my eyes to the world of drones.”

UAS are changing the face of the battlefield, and this has been brought into sharp focus by their use in today's ongoing conflicts. The ability to rain down pin-point accurate artillery barrages not only is a highly effective means of degrading the enemy, it also mitigates the risk of collateral damage whilst reducing the waste of precious ammunition stocks.

The British Army is changing its approach to the use of drones under Future Soldier and is restructuring as a consequence.

Lance Bombardier Harry Morrisey will be one of the first soldiers to become a member of the 32 Regiment Royal Artillery's latest addition; 42 (Alem Hamza) Battery.

This UAS specialist unit is, in fact a reanimation; a military term for reinstating a formerly disestablished unit. 42 (Alem Hamza) Battery had been cut from the regiment's order of battle back in 2016.

When back in the UK, Harry can look forward to working with his new battery alongside their Italian counterparts from the 41st IMINT Regiment, the 'Cordenons' as they work together developing interoperability with their UAS systems. 

The British Army is recruiting right now to fill 10,000 jobs across the UK with more than 200 roles to choose from, covering everything from frontline combat and cyber security to helicopter pilots, chefs and support roles. If you’re aged 16 to 50, and if you want to find out more about a career in the Army, click here.

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