Army reservists from Leeds get set for deployment to Afghanistan


Five reserve soldiers from Leeds are in training ahead of deployment to Afghanistan.

The troops from Leeds-based Corunna Company, 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, have already completed the first part of a three-stage training programme designed to give them the skills they need for the five-month deployment.

The next stage of their training will see them develop further their understanding of the challenges of their role in Afghanistan.

“We’re all really looking forward to heading out there and working alongside soldiers from the regular units,” said Lance Corporal Karl Briggs, aged 24, of Bramley.

“Each of us come from very different walks of life in the civilian world but we all see this operation as an experience we are trained to do and something we don’t want to miss.”

Pictured 1 –  From left to right are: Private Brad Scaife, aged 22, from Horsforth, Private Jamie Richards, aged 28, from Kirkstall, Lance Corporal Karl Briggs, Private James  McGregor, aged 46, and Will Howarth, aged 22, from Pool in Wharfedale.

Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure they are ready to serve as part of the military if their country needs them.

The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel and are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas.

#ReservesDay is on 26th June 2019 and is a day when employers and the community thank reservists for their professionalism and commitment to serving their country.

As part of Operation TORAL, 16 reservists from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (4 YORKS) will join 16 reservists from the 4th Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (4 LANCS)  to support regular soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS). Together they will form a 500-strong battlegroup.

“Our role will be to provide protection to soldiers training the Afghans and to carry out patrol and guard duties,” said Karl, an IT support technician who became a reserve after graduating from Leeds Trinity University.

“For all of us it will be our first operational experience. It will represent an important moment in our military careers and will give us the chance to put in action all the training we’ve done.”

Private Brad Scaife

Aged 22, Brad lives with friends in Hyde Park, Leeds. A former student of Horsforth High School and Leeds City College, he works as a team leader at Vue Cinema in Leeds city centre. He joined the reserves in September 2018 and Operation TORAL will be his first deployment.

He said:

“Being in the reserves is like a break from the routine of normal life. One day, I’m at work or drinking down the pub with my mates and the next day I’m sleeping outdoors and on exercise with my platoon.

“I like to be able to switch between the two worlds. It’s a great way of keeping fit and getting your energy out. Going on active deployment is the natural next step for me.”

 Private Jamie Richards

Jamie, aged 28, lives with his girlfriend Amy in Kirkstall and is assistant physiotherapy practitioner at St James’ Hospital in Leeds. He has been a reservist for three years.

He said:

“I love my job in the NHS so being in the reserves is a great way of combining it with a career in the military. My employers are very supportive and go out of their way to make sure I can fit in my training and other commitments.

“I’m looking forward to being deployed because it will be an opportunity to be able to see the world from a different point of view. I’ve been blessed in so many ways that it’s one way of giving back some of what I owe. Also it would seem weird training for all this time and not putting that training to good use.”

Private James McGregor

At 46, James is the oldest of the reservists going on deployment. He lives with his partner Donna and two of his three children in Leeds. He has worked as a driver for NHS Blood and Transplant for 20 years and joined the reserves five years ago.

He said:

“I joined the Reserves because it’s something I’d always wanted to do. Age is just a number and I just decided to go for it. I more than keep up with most of the other soldiers in the platoon.

“Going on deployment means a lot to me. It will be an ambition fulfilled. My partner is supportive because she knows how dedicated and committed I feel towards my role in the Reserves.”

Private Will Howarth

Will, who is 22, lives in Pool in Wharfedale. He is a former pupil of Prince Henry’s Grammar School and currently works at the White Hart country inn in Pool. He joined the reserves in 2017.

He said:

“I’m into fitness and the physicality of being in the reserves really suits me. It mixes things up a bit and keeps your fresher for what you do in your civilian life.

“I wanted to go on deployment because it’s what we’ve trained for. I will learn a lot, serve my country and, hopefully, help make a positive difference.”


Reserve Forces