Join us

‘All I ever wanted was to be a soldier’

A note written aged six signalled Trooper Cameron McCabe’s clear intention as to her future career. It read ‘Mum, I’d rather die for my country than from old age.’

Now aged 21 and a gunner in The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths' Own), her mum still has the letter attesting to the Army being all she wanted since childhood.

Inspired by the deeds of her great grandfather who served in Burma, and her grandfather who enjoyed a long career in the RAF, Cameron joined straight from school.

“I didn’t have a job before the I joined the British Army,” she says.” It sounds cliched to say it, but the Army was the only job I ever wanted to do.”

“Being from a military family, the legacy made me want to join. Initially, I wanted to join The Guards, but, after completing ITC Catterick, I decided that I found the job role more interesting at the Royal Lancers. I have enjoyed it ever since and I am very pleased I made that decision.”

As a gunner on a Jackal armoured vehicle, Cameron is responsible for whatever gun is on the vehicle, be it a General-Purpose Machine Gun, .50-calibre, or Grenade Machine Gun.

As well as fixing and maintaining the gun, she is also responsible for supporting vehicle maintenance and making sure her crew is provided for in terms of food, water, and rest.

Being part of such a big exercise was incredibly exciting." Trooper Cameron McCabe, The Royal Lancers

Cameron, who completed a six-month deployment on Operation Cabrit in Poland last autumn, said: “Over the course of the tour, two moments really stand out. In June, we moved as an armed convoy from Poland up to the British base in Estonia. This was the first time this kind of move had been done and I particularly enjoyed being at the forefront of an operational revelation.

“In September, we moved from Poland to Latvia for Exercise Titan Shield, where we played enemy to a Canadian led NATO battlegroup. Being part of such a big exercise was incredibly exciting and I loved every minute.

“In a non-operational sense, I have been on adventure training in France, skiing in Val Thorens. All of these have been places and experiences that I ordinarily wouldn’t have had.”

One aspect of Army life that has surprised her is the diversity of its personnel.

The Army has definitely expanded my cultural horizons.”

Cameron, from Doncaster, said: “Honestly, I have been so surprised by how diverse the Army is. There are a lot more women than I thought there would be across all trades, even the Royal Lancers in Light Cavalry.

“Also, the number of Commonwealth soldiers has really surprised me. I had never met a Fijian or Nepalese person before, and I now count many of them amongst my close friends. The Army has definitely expanded my cultural horizons.”

Sporting and outdoor opportunities have also been among the benefits including skiing in the alps and hiking all around the UK.

While her path has been singular, it has led to real personal growth. “I have been on a very traditional journey into the Army,” she says. “As a young girl I did beavers, before moving onto cubs, scouts and later cadets.

“Since joining the Army proper, I have learned gunnery, which I have really enjoyed. More broadly however, being a female in a traditionally male job role, I have learned to be comfortable in femininity and I have become a lot more confident in myself.

“There is no different standard for women in the cavalry, I have to keep up with the men and meet the common standard. Through this I have learned how capable I am and hugely developed as a young woman. The lessons I have learned through the army in this space I will be forever grateful for.”

I am a stronger person for having served."

As for the future, former Doncaster College pupil Cameron is determined for that growth to continue. She said: “I want to do three things in the short to medium term. I want to complete my advanced Signals course, convert to be a gunner on Ajax, and promote to Lance Corporal in next couple of years.”

The toughest part of her journey was Infantry Training at Catterick. “It was hard, but I completed it before moving across to the Lancers,” she says.

“The skills I learned at Catterick did, however, mean that I performed really well in the Potential Non-Commissioned Officers course which The Royal Lancers ran while we were in Poland.

“I am a stronger person for having served. As a woman, citizen, and soldier, I have developed. I have proved to myself that I am just as capable as any man. Over my time on Op Cabrit I proved I am as good as a soldier as any man in the regiment."

Cameron is currently undertaking an Ajax (Armoured Fighting Vehicle) driver course. Following on from that, she has various depolyment opportunities in the next year including Cyprus, returning to Poland, or Operation Elgin in Kosovo. 

AHQCPL13 OFFICIAL 20230621 012 1204

Find Where You Belong

The British Army is recruiting now for over 200 roles, from frontline combat and cyber security to helicopter pilots, chefs and vital support roles.

If you are aged 16 to 50, then learn more about an Army career here today.