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Would you join the Territorial Army?

Lou Birt - Programme Editor | 16:01 UK time, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Can you teach a soldier everything they need to know in just six weeks? The Territorial Army is embarking on a crash-course training regime to get hundreds of part-time soldiers ready for action.

As part of a rolling scheme around the UK, Summer Challenge Wales hopes to recruit 150 more men and women - condensing an 18-month training programme into just six weeks.

Our reporter Mark Hutchings took up the challenge:

"I've always related to Private 'Can I be excused?' Godfrey in Dad's Army. I've never really seen myself in the front line. But if my country called, could I cut the mustard?

Well, mustard-cutting wasn't on the itinerary of the Territorial Army's open day in Cardiff. Tough, physical excercise was. First the weights to see how easily I could lift an ammunition box onto the back of a truck. I'd need a ceasefire to allow me time to load.

I was pitched against Glyn Wise (ex-Big Brother) in the carry-the-jerry-can contest. So can I carry-the-can-as-far-as-Glyn-can? Sadly, no can do.

Mark Hutchings v Glyn Wise in the Jerry Can carry
We then crossed a 'shark-infested' slab of concrete with some planks of wood. Glyn fell in. I carried on. I haven't seen him since.

Mark Hutching attempting the plank walk

A gruelling assault course rounded it off. I thought I was quite fit (I have a vivid imagination) but the warm-up nearly wiped me out.

With a hint of irony, one army instructor told me I was in the top 'echelon' of volunteers. Maybe he means I'm more suited to the French Army. I'm full of admiration for those who give up their time - but can I be excused?"

Are you up to the challenge and would you join the TA? Or are you already in the TA, what encouraged you to join?

We want to hear your experiences and views, so please comment below.


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