Reserve sailors launch new recruitment drive

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LOCKING and loading their rifles one by one, sailors covered each other, preparing to hunt for a man who had stormed aboard their warship.

But the five navy reservists on HMS Bristol, at Whale Island, Portsmouth had no bullets in their magazines.

L-R AB Lawrence Flint, AB Stuart Harland, AB Beth Piper and AB Leanne Robertson.''The seamen, from HMS King Alfred are Above Water Force Protection, and here demonstratinng their skills in room clearances in front of potential recruits.''HMS King Alfred had an open day on Saturday, October 26, in a bid to boost its numbers.

L-R AB Lawrence Flint, AB Stuart Harland, AB Beth Piper and AB Leanne Robertson.''The seamen, from HMS King Alfred are Above Water Force Protection, and here demonstratinng their skills in room clearances in front of potential recruits.''HMS King Alfred had an open day on Saturday, October 26, in a bid to boost its numbers.

Instead they were showing off their force protection skills to potential recruits.

The exercise came as the 178-strong Royal Navy Reserve establishment, HMS King Alfred, based in Whale Island, threw open its doors on Saturday.

The day was part of a bid to boost reservist numbers across the forces.

AB Laurence Flint, who works as a support worker in a psychiatric hospital, and AB Beth Piper were just two of the trained members showing off their clearance skills.

The childhood friends, both 18, of Alverstoke, in Gosport, have already completed their weapons training in Cyprus.

AB Piper, who is studying sport at St Vincent College in Gosport, said she enjoys the variety the navy brings.

She said: ‘I joined because life is the same-old but on Tuesday night you get to live a completely different life. You meet tonnes of new people.

‘I’m hoping to go to university and I might be joining full time in the navy I might not.’

And AB Stuart Harland, 31, from Denmead, has just spent nine months on deployment with 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group.

He provided security for RFA ships in Plymouth and in the Gulf.

All three shared their experience with prospective reservist, 30-year-old Ollie Dearing, who is currently leaving the army.

He said: ‘I’m at the end of my service so I’ve moved down to this area with the family. I like service life and I’m interested in the full time regular option and deployments.’

And it is with people such as Ollie that HMS King Alfred’s commanding officer Commander Anthony Stickland hopes to bolster his numbers.

Cdr Stickland, who is a technical director at a manufacturing firm, said he wants to recruit more sailors.

He said: ‘We’re looking for at least 100 by 2018.

‘There’s a huge amount of things the maritime reserve can offer, there’s a huge amount we get involved in.’