St Albans boys get a taste of Army life

PUBLISHED: 08:13 19 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:33 06 May 2010

The boys are put through their paces at Bassingbourn barracks

The boys are put through their paces at Bassingbourn barracks

WANNABE soldiers from a secondary school in St Albans were pushed to the limit during a gruelling school trip to an army barracks. A group of Year 10 Verulam school boys left earlier this month for Bassingbourn army barracks in Royston, where they spent f

WANNABE soldiers from a secondary school in St Albans were pushed to the limit during a gruelling school trip to an army barracks.

A group of Year 10 Verulam school boys left earlier this month for Bassingbourn army barracks in Royston, where they spent five days training alongside soldiers and learning what it was like to fight at the front.

Fourteen-year-old Vincent Shiels, one of 21 students who went on the trip organised by the school, said that he first heard about the opportunity when Major George Wurr, army careers adviser for Herts, came to talk to the school in April.

"Major Wurr was a fearless war veteran who told us heroic tales of how he planned attacks to disable enemies and how he risked his own life in order to save others. When he told us about the fantastic trip to the barracks, I knew then and there that I wanted to go."

Vincent and his schoolmates had to go through two interviews to earn their place on the trip, a trial which Vincent said was very challenging: "The Major was sizing us up in every area from hobbies to ambitions and the interviews went on for hours. But my confidence paid off and three weeks later, I was packing my bags and setting off!"

The group of 14 and 15-year-olds were woken at 5.30am every morning and, as well as spending hours on improving their physical fitness, they also enjoyed activities including kayaking, orienteering, constructing shelters and covering themselves in camouflage cream for sniper stalks.

Vincent, who lives in Radlett, said that it was the trip of a lifetime: "With activities ranging from climbing into the clouds to crawling with the wildlife, we all took part in a truly breathtaking week - despite all the blisters and bruises! It gave us all memories which we'll never forget.

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