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 LIFE IN...

5th Regiment Royal Artillery

What The Soldier Needs To Know

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Lance Bombardier Laura Povall   Gunner Ritchie   Lance Bombardier Dougie McDougal   Gunner Charlie Howard

 Listed below are a number of questions frequently asked of soldiers serving within 5th Regiment Royal Artillery. If you have a particular question to ask, you may contact the Regimental Recruiting Team and put your question to them.

Where is 5th Regiment RA located?
5th Regiment RA is located at Marne Barracks, Catterick in North Yorkshire. Marne Barracks is located right next to the A1, signposted clearly on both the northern and the southern carriageways. Because of the camp's location it has excellent communications routes both south and north. London is only 4 1/2 hours away, and Edinburgh is 2 1/2 hours north.

What Towns are nearby?
The largest towns within one hour's drive are Newcastle and Middlesborough to the north and York and Leeds to the south. Closer in are the towns of Darlington  and Northallerton, both within 25 mins drive. Richmond and Catterick Garrison are 10 minutes drive away; there's a Tesco, sports shops and military equipment shops in the Garrison and Richmond has all the normal shops for a small town. If it's a quick trip to the shops you want there's Catterick village five minutes walk down the road.

What entertainment and recreational facilities are in the area?
Marne Barracks: There are a number of entertainment facilities on camp; a NAAFI bar with Spar shop; a particularly comprehensive PRI Shop; Hair Dressers and evening sports classes in the gymnasium. The Gymnasium is a brand new state of the art facility, which is open until 9.00pm and open at the weekend as well.

Catterick Village: As already mentioned the village is a short walk from Marne Barracks and comprises a number of small shops, which include a Post Office, garage, bakers and a cafe. There are a few Public Houses, the most popular being the Angel Hotel which is most frequented by soldiers and locals. For those after a late night snack there is a fish and chip shop, kebab/pizza shop and a chinese take-away. North of the village is Catterick Racecourse, this holds a large open market on Sundays and on Public Holidays.

Catterick Garrison: Catterick Garrison sits on an elevated plateau 4 miles west of the A1 and 2 miles east of Richmond. The Garrison consists of some 2,400 acres of land with the surrounding training areas of Feldom and Bellerby adding a further 19,000 acres. Together with Catterick Training Area, the Garrison has responsibility for about 34 square miles of land, which represents a sizeable slice of North Yorkshire.

There are 19 separate barrack complexes within Catterick Garrison. There is accommodation for over 6,000 single service personnel and nearly 2,153 married quarter's spread across 22 Estates. Catterick Garrison is in many respects unique amongst military garrison towns. It is virtually self-sufficient; it has its own infrastructure, owning and operating its own water supply system, high Voltage electricity ring mains and is of course responsible for all its property and estate maintenance.

The Garrison has recently completed a period of expansion, major rebuilds and troop movements which has increased the number of military units, personnel and families accommodated in the Garrison. Catterick is now the largest military garrison in the British Army. The Garrison lies within the boundaries of Richmondshire District Council and has developed extremely close links at all levels of the Parish, Town, District County Government and the emergency services.

Catterick Garrison is always a hive of activity; there is an assortment of Public Houses that include fun pubs, a nightclub and two families clubs. There are countless military and civilian clubs and associations about the Garrison, sporting activities varying from horse riding to clay pigeon shooting.

Local Area: If you are the type to go sightseeing then the Richmond Tourist Office has a wide and varied choice of leaflets free of charge, all advertising places of interest, as the area is rich with castles, monasteries, medieval ruins and many well-preserved manor houses. Above all, the district possesses a wealth of churches that still reflect their grandeur and architecture.

The area has so much to offer. On the doorstep are the Yorkshire Moors with scenic views and forest parks, which are extremely popular in the spring and summer months. The sea is about an hour's drive away with resorts such as Scarborough and the historic fishing village of Whitby. To the west is the Lake District again about an hour's drive. There are many small towns and villages in the surrounding area, which provide you with a base for scenic walks, all of these are clearly marked and follow Public footpaths and Bridle ways. These areas also have a number of pubs, which often have bar meals available throughout the day, and evening. They will provide you with free car parking for the duration of your walk.

What Public Transport is in the Local Area?
A regular bus service operates from just outside Marne Barracks/Catterick Village to the market towns of Richmond, Northallerton, and Darlington via the surrounding villages.  Local taxi services are also available. The nearest train station is in Darlington, which is on the mainline going north and south. There is also a small station in Northallerton. There are three airports within an hour of the camp, Newcastle Airport, Teeside Airport, and to the south Leeds/ Bradford Airport.

Where's the Nearest Bank?
There is a Link cash machine on camp in the NAAFI shop. There are also various banks in Catterick Garrison; Lloyds TSB, HSBC and a number of additional cash machines as well. Richmond, approximately 2 miles from the Garrison has the majority of the major banks and building societies. Darlington, approximately 15 miles away, has all the banks and building societies you would expect in  a main town.

Who's on the Camp?
Two Regiment's, 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, and 8 Regiment Royal Logistics Corp share Marne Barracks. These Regiment's share most of the facilities; the Gymnasium, the Regimental restaurant and both the Sergeants' and Officers' Messes. This means there is approximately 1000 personnel working on camp, however this is a bit false as there are normally several sub-units away at any one time on tours, exercise etc.

What's the Accommodation Like?
Currently the accommodation on camp is of poor quality, but during 2004 the rebuild of the accommodation is due to start with brand new single man en suite rooms. Until this time the single accommodation varies, there are a number of single man rooms  but some are up to four man rooms, normally with two or three living in those rooms. The family's accommodation is all of a good grade with garages available.

What's the Food Like?
The food is high quality. There is a wide choice on the menu at each meal. There's normally soup, sandwiches and a choice other than chips at lunchtime and a variety of meats in the evening. As already mentioned the Cookhouse is shared with 8 Regiment RLC.

What are the Sports Facilities Like?
The camp has a brand new gymnasium with a comprehensive weights room, large gym floor and sauna. There are several sports pitches on the airfield and these get used frequently by both Regiment's sports teams. There are many other sports available in the surrounding area; there's a swimming pool in the Garrison and a couple of civilian gymnasiums in Richmond. If you travel to Darlington there are all the sports facilities anyone could want.

The Commanding Officer of 5 Regiment RA encourages all soldiers to participate in all sports at all levels, from representing the Battery teams through to representing Joint Service (Army, Royal Navy and RAF) teams.

What are the Parking Facilities Like?
Each Battery's accommodation has nearby designated parking areas with enough space for everyone. There is some parking outside each Battery's offices, however these are normally reserved for the Officers and Senior Ranks within these Batteries.

What Education Facilities are Available?
Within Catterick Garrison there is a comprehensive Army Education Centre, including Internet facilities and the ability to gain a wide variety of civilian qualifications. Also within the Garrison there is a Darlington College facility. Within this college you may gain any number of qualifications from GCSEs to IT based qualifications via Learn Direct.On Marne Barracks, Darlington College have a learning suite where you can gain access to the Internet and also civilian and IT qualifications.

What Hours Do We Work?
The normal working day begins at 08.30hrs and goes through to 16.30hrs. Monday and Tuesday are normal working days, Wednesday morning is spent on the vehicle park working on the vehicles and in the afternoon everybody plays sports, be it at Regimental level or just a kick around in the gym. Thursday again is a normal working day. Friday we finish work at 12.30hrs, normally after the Commanding Officer's run. The weekend is generally your own unless you are on duty or on exercise.

What's the Travel Like in the Regiment?
The Regiment as a whole has great opportunities to travel both in work and adventure training. In the past few years there is a great list of countries visited by members of the Regiment, some of which are listed below:

Australia Bosnia
Oman  Canada
Norway USA
Kosovo Northern Ireland
Slovenia Kenya     
Macedonia Cyprus     
Albania Greece
Poland  Turkey     
Belize Ascension Islands
Germany South Africa
Brunei France     

Obviously not everybody gets to go everywhere, but by joining the Regiment, you may get to travel to a great many of these countries.

Summary.
The Regiment is unique within the British Army.  It has a wide variety of trades you can gain if you take up the challenge.  There is opportunity to travel both operationally and on Adventure Training.  The camp is ideally placed for travel both North and South at the weekends.

CONTACT US
If you would like any further information about 5 Regiment Royal Artillery please contact the Regimental Recruiting Team at
recruiting@5regtra.mod.uk