TA soldiers share their war stories
TERRITORIAL Army soldiers from across East Yorkshire gave families an insight into military life at a recruitment day in Queen Victoria Square.
Members of the reserve force shared their stories of action in Afghanistan and Iraq with the public.
Like most of his comrades, Lieutenant John Merritt, 30, holds down another job alongside his army work.
An occupational health nurse in the civilian world, he spent six months in Afghanistan running helicopter extractions for injured soldiers with 250 Squadron, 3 Medical Regiment.
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"I sent the rescue helicopter out to get soldiers," said Lieutenant Merritt. "It's quite tricky at times. You've got to think about the environment and enemy forces.
"We were in the field hospital in Camp Bastion receiving all the casualties – you're talking about one amputee a week."
As well as British soldiers, Lieutenant Merrit also dealt with other Nato troops, civilians and even wounded Taliban.
"You've got to separate the Taliban and British soldiers in the wards," he said.
"You just get to see the aftermath – people coming in screaming, unconscious, at death's door.
"But it's always rewarding when you patch soldiers up and send them on their way again."
Other members of his squadron are sent on patrol with combat units, or take up posts in dangerous forward operating bases away from Camp Bastion's relative safety.
Lieutenant Merrit said: "They're trained to a very high-level of infantry skills, plus the medical skills.
"A medic has to be mentally strong and physically able. You've got to be intelligent and probably fitter than the soldiers you're working with."
Other regiments were also out in force at Saturday's event.
Aged 19, Private James Beharrell is one of 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment's youngest recruits.
Private Beharrell, studying American studies at the University of Hull, signed up in November and is enjoying his training.
He said: "I've always been interested in the military and I thought I would give it a go. I'm loving it – I've made some good friends as well.
"It just makes you into a better person. I've grown in confidence and organisational skills."
The recruitment day was one of several taking place across the country to show civilians what the Army does and advertise opportunities to get involved.
Standing out in their maroon berets were members of 299 (Parachute Squadron) Royal Engineers.
Staff Sergeant Carl Ham, 49, is a shift manager who has spent 30 years in the regiment as a TA soldier.
He served in Iraq in 2003 and took part in combat operations.
He said: "The training really paid off because you were fully alert. We did a few operations out there.
"There's a little bit of all emotions the first time you're in combat.
"It's a little bit of excitement and a little bit of fear but the training takes over."
Territorial Army medics are holding an open day on Saturday, from 9am to 4pm, at Wenlock Barracks in Anlaby Road, west Hull.