MORE than 300 junior soldiers took part in the passing out parade at Harrogate’s Army Foundation College.
The parade – the largest in the British Army after Trooping the Colour – was led by Junior Regimental Sergeant Major Sam Rother, 17, who was chosen as the best recruit of the 328 junior soldiers.
He gave the final words of command and escorted the Reviewing Officer during the parade.
Also on parade was 17-year-old Josh Reilly from Wigan, who said: “It felt like we had been working towards this day for such a long time. My whole family were so proud of me when they came to see me on parade.
“The physical challenges on the course have been really tough, but I’m now looking forward to my specialist training in Bovington.”
Senior Army officer Lieutenant General Richard Barrons, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military Strategy and Operations), inspected the junior soldiers. The college’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Khashi Sharifi, and other members of staff from the college’s Alamein and Burma Companies joined him.
The Junior Soldiers, who have undergone a 42-week course including military skills and vocational qualifications, will now receive specialist Phase 2 training in their chosen Army trade. Commanding Officer Lt Col Khashi Sharifi said: “The graduation parade is the culmination of 12 months of hard work and dedication.
“These young men and women can be rightly proud of their achievements at the College.
“We have been delighted to be able to share this special day with their families and friends, whose support has been invaluable during this challenging, demanding and, at times, emotional year.
“After a well-earned Christmas break, our Junior Soldiers can look forward to their specialist training before embarking on the busy, rewarding careers that lie ahead of them.”
The Army Foundation College is located at Uniacke Barracks on Penny Pot Lane, Harrogate.
The college trains more than 1,300 junior soldiers each year over a 42-week course, providing the 16- and 17-year-olds with military training and vocational education ahead of a career in the British Army.