PUPILS were left awestruck when their music teacher revealed her alter ego – as a Royal Navy reservist.
Music teacher Emma Cutler came dressed in full uniform to her school, Alverstoke CofE Junior School, near Gosport.
The 34-year-old’s revelation to her pupils comes as the nation celebrates Reserves Day today.
Reservists from across all wings of military services are uniting, with many coming to work in their kit.
Emma, of Alverstoke, said: ‘I think some of the children were really shocked. They hadn’t seen that side of me before and I don’t think they knew I was a reservist.
‘One even asked me if that was my costume.’
I really did enjoy our time at Raleigh and the excellent naval instructors really got the best out of all of usAB Emma Cutler, Royal Navy Reserve
Super-organised Emma balances her full-time work at school with her part-time military career – while also running her own business providing piano and music tuition.
The busy mum said she was inspired to join the reserves in July last year.
She added naval life was in her blood – her granddad and grandmother had served in the Senior Service and her father, Lieutenant Commander Peter Southern, had been in the navy for 40 years as a submariner.
‘I did join the navy when I was younger but I only lasted a year,’ she added. ‘I was only 17. I regretted that ever since.’
Emma has just completed her first phase of naval training at HMS Raleigh.
The course taught her how to shoot and service the SA 80 rifle, conduct weapon drills, firefighting and some survival training, while tackling plenty of outdoor leadership challenges too.
Emma – who was identified class leader – said she ‘loved every minute at Raliegh’, adding: ‘I just love the challenge of all the adventurous, physical outdoor training.
‘I really did enjoy our time at Raleigh and the excellent naval instructors really got the best out of all of us.’
At her passing out parade at HMS Raleigh, the Able Seaman was presented with the Captain’s Award for Best Reservist under training by Commodore Graeme Little.
She will now move on to specialist training in the navy’s logistics branch.
Emma attends her local Royal Navy Reserve (RNR) unit across the harbour at HMS King Alfred on Whale Island on Tuesday evenings and at occasional weekend training events.
Graham Cutter, head teacher of Alverstoke, said Emma was a ‘role model’ for pupils.
He said: ‘We have been promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics specific careers for the girls in the school.
‘With Emma sharing her reserves experience, in a field commonly predominated by men, our school benefits enormously.’
For details about a reserve career in the navy, call 03456 0032 22 or visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk/navyreserves
The next RNR Live open day is on Saturday, July 8, from 10am to 3pm at HMS King Alfred.