Sir Mike Rake, Chairman of BT has paid tribute to the dedication and expertise of Territorial Army (TA) soldiers from Corsham-based 81 Signal Squadron (Volunteers) during a visit to the squadron’s annual training camp at Longmoor Camp in Hampshire.
Sir Mike Rake, Chairman of BT has paid tribute to the dedication and expertise of Territorial
Army (TA) soldiers from Corsham-based 81 Signal Squadron (Volunteers) during a visit to
the squadron’s annual training camp at Longmoor Camp in Hampshire.
Sir Mike presented medals to 13 members of the Squadron - some of whom had recently
returned from serving in Afghanistan and some for long service in the Reserve Forces.
The Squadron has a commitment to deploy a number of teams of telecoms specialists
to Afghanistan each year to support colleagues from the Regular Army in the vital role of
keeping the lines of communication between the MoD, military bases such as Camp Bastion,
and troops on the ground running effectively. The Squadron has deployed 20 soldiers in the
past year and there are currently four serving in theatre.
Many of those who serve with the Squadron are BT employees from across the UK and the skills and specialisations they bring with them from their civilian roles boost the Army’s capabilities on the front line. Speaking during his visit, Sir Mike Rake commented: “It’s been a fantastic privilege to meet soldiers who are combining a civilian job within BT and other organisations with serving their country. The skills they are able to take from their day jobs clearly play an important role in
Armed Forces operations and similarly the experience these men and women gain through
serving with the TA is hugely valuable to companies such as BT. BT is proud to support its
reservists in 81 Signal Squadron and in other Armed Forces units”.
As well as providing telecoms experts to Afghanistan, in recent years the Squadron has also
deployed to the Falkland Islands, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Brunei, Kosovo and Iraq. All soldiers are
recruited with the necessary trade skills, acquired through their civilian employment. These
skills are then supplemented with military training to ensure all are trained to the same level
as their regular Army counterparts when it comes to skills such as weapon handling and
fitness. The Squadron maintains close links with the telecoms industry and Larry Stone, BT's
President Group Public and Government Affairs, has been the Squadron’s Honorary Colonel
Major Andy Kennedy, the Officer Commanding of 81 Signal Squadron (Volunteers),
added: “I’d like to thank Sir Mike for taking the time to attend our annual training and
presenting medals to the soldiers. His visit underlines the close links the Squadron maintains
with British industry. Having the support of companies such as BT is vitally important to the
role the Squadron is able to play within the UK’s Armed Forces and this visit is significant as
it demonstrates support at Board level not only for individuals but the TA as a whole.”
81 Signal Squadron is currently recruiting for trained telecom engineers either with or without
previous military experience. For further information visit www.army.mod.uk/signals/25570.aspx
or call 01225 847388.