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Reservist Comes Top of Regular PNCO Cadre – LCpl Hayward

Nesscliffe/Sennybridge Training Areas

In the summer of 2021 (then) Pte Hayward, B Company, 3 PWRR, attended the regular PNCO (Potential Non-commission officer) Cadre and was awarded Top Student – besting his regular peers. Here he writes about his time on the course…

"One of the hardest attacks was when just as we were about to start our dawn 8km insertion.”

The course started at Nesscliffe training area, where we were put into our sections for the course and began the course build up phase, at Nesscliffe Training Area. Morale was good, everyone was keen to be there, and the Regulars were surprised that a reservist had chosen to do the full cadre with them. Our time at Nesscliffe was spent learning how to run battle exercises safely, alongside PT and Navigation tests both day and night.

Our move across to Sennybridge truly marked where the arduous training began, in hindsight Nesscliffe was a walk in the park terrain-wise compared to what was waiting for us in Brecon, our first insertion tab resulted in me finding myself knee deep in a bog…

The following patrols week was long and hard - we spent the days patrolling and doing sections attacks before going into recces at night, sleep was minimal and some tears were shed by others as the sleep deprivation started to take its toll. Finally all the lack of sleep was worth it when we progressed onto the attacks week, here we took everything we had learnt and put it into practice. It was subtle to notice but our section and platoon had bonded well over our time together with lack of sleep and the attacks were going smoothly.

One of the hardest attacks was when just as we were about to start our dawn 8km insertion, one of my section had a medical issue and was pulled off resulting in no time for me to redistribute his section kit and ammo, I chucked it all in my daysack and stepped off. During the attack ammunition wasn’t being redistributed to the lead sections so as we echeloned through I took it on myself to do just that with the spare ammunition I had, this enabled the platoon to stay in the fight longer and clear the final positions.

During our final attack I was in appointment as section commander, while dodging the baby heads of Brecon at night nothing can give you such a warm yet sad feeling than seeing your lead man simply disappear up to their waist in a bog that lay in wait in the dark after the Boss told them to lead off in that direction.

Looking back this was a great opportunity just to train alongside the regulars of the Queen Division and show them that reservists can do anything we are required too.



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