News story

Wartime craft gets soldiers to scouts' island

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Nottingham army reserves have used a D-Day landing craft to transport their equipment across a river to upgrade a scout group's island base.

The regular and reserve soldiers of the East Midlands-based 73 Engineer Regiment have been putting their military expertise into practice to build a new boat house and upgrade toilet facilities on Barton Island in the River Trent, home to the 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts since the 1960s.

Military Plant Foreman Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Darren Winter, who led the project, said:

We have been planning to help the scouts on this project for a while now. Obviously the task we faced was how to transport our plant machinery across to the island.

Soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment on Barton Island
Soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment on Barton Island [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble, Crown copyright]

The owner of the historic wartime landing craft, John Busuttil, was approached to help the soldiers move the equipment, and he was only too happy to help.

WO2 Winter said:

We wouldn’t have been able to complete the project without the help of John. It’s great that everyone has come together to help the scout group.

Soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment at work on the new boat house
Soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment at work on the new boat house on Barton Island [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble, Crown copyright]

Community spirit

Local authorities and the armed forces community are encouraged to work together in their areas as part of the Armed Forces Community Covenant. This has seen local communities coming together to support the armed forces community at events such as Armed Forces Day, as well as the service community supporting joint projects, such as helping the Beeston Sea Scouts to upgrade their Barton Island base.

Sea Scouts section leader Nigel Bosworth said:

We really appreciate all the help we have had from our local community in order to complete this project. We couldn’t have done it without their help. It just goes to show what can be achieved in a short space of time when people work together.

Soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment at work on the new boat house
Soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment at work on the new boat house on Barton Island [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble, Crown copyright]

Learning opportunity

The soldiers from 73 Engineer Regiment also built a landing slipway on the island to enable the equipment to be brought off the landing craft. Made of timber, using branches of trees on the island, it is a technique normally used in the jungle.

WO2 Winter said:

This has been great training for the soldiers. It is not often we get the opportunity to work on an island and the soldiers have had to think about the logistics of how to get the equipment on and off the island.

It is excellent training; they may face similar projects on operations when working by river banks that are eroding.

Soldiers and Sea Scouts leaders with the D-Day landing craft on Barton Island
Soldiers and Sea Scouts leaders with the D-Day landing craft on Barton Island [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble, Crown copyright]

Future reserve forces

Under plans to expand the reserve forces, numbers will increase to around 35,000 across all 3 services and £80 million will be invested in the Army Reserve estate to accommodate the larger numbers.

Have you got what it takes to be a reservist? The reserve forces are recruiting now.