of Coldstreamers (Guardsmen, Lance Corporals, Sergeants
page tells the story of two Guardsmen of many currently
serving in the Coldstream Guards. These stories are not
unusual and reflect the diversity, challenge and fun of
a career in the Coldstream Guards.
It should be noted that although
these stories were recorded whilst at our previous post
in Northern Ireland, it provides an ideal background to
life in the Battalion.
As he will tell you,
Guardsman Nathan Jones experienced a total
transformation of his life, from the day he joined the
Regiment. He has travelled, trained and served on
operations. At the time of writing he is serving with
the Battalion on a 2 year tour of operations in
Northern Ireland where his routine varies from day to
MY CAREER IN THE COLDSTREAM GUARDS
Guardsman Nathan Jones
the British Army on 19 January 1997 and I must say I didn't quite know what to expect, as
I had never really experienced anything like it. I was a
little apprehensive at first but you have to make a start
somewhere, and this was to be mine. My basic training lasted
15 - 16 weeks at the Army Training Regiment in Pirbright.
Although arduous at times, it was thoroughly enjoyable. I
had never before experienced the camaraderie and comradeship
that we had all formed with one another. We came from
different places and backgrounds - all with the same
intention - to join the British Army. The 15 - 16 weeks
passed quickly after learning the basics of soldiering and
we all moved onto the second phase. This was our Combat
Infantryman's Battle Course at the Infantry Training Centre
Catterick. At Catterick we were taught a whole world of new
things from different weaponry to using sophisticated
military equipment, again it was something different. There
was always something new which made it all the more
I had begun to notice how different I had become from being
a civilian to being a trained soldier, and I liked the
change. It was for the better. It had made me a much more
streetwise and disciplined person. All of my family and
friends back home had noticed the change, and the respect I
got was phenomenal.
After finishing my training in September 1997 I went to join
my chosen battalion - The 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards,
which was based in
The atmosphere was much more relaxed and settled than
training had been. I started to find my feet within the
Battalion, and got to know some of the best mates I've ever
I spent 8 months in Germany before moving back to Windsor
for ceremonial duties. I enjoyed this part of my time, as it
made you feel 20 feet tall to know that people come from all
over the world just to see you. You can't really explain it.
It's just amazing. It wasn't all ceremonial though - we had
a battalion exercise in the Brecon Beacons that was
In 1999 my Company went to Belize in Central America for 6
weeks. Four weeks in the jungle training school with
exercises and ranges, 1 week adventure training in St
George's Quay and then a week's holiday in Cancun to rest,
soak up the sun, get drunk and have a bit of fun - nobody
said that it would be easy!
At the end of 1999 we deployed on a 6 month tour of Northern
Ireland to Forkhill in South Armagh. It was quite demanding
at times but always enjoyable. After a good leave, we were
back to ceremonial duties. In October we deployed on a 6
week exercise in Canada which I thoroughly enjoyed, and knew
then that it was time to try and move up the ranks. In
January 2001 I passed my JNCOs cadre and am now eligible for
promotion to Lance Corporal. I am now currently serving in
Northern Ireland on a two year tour.
To summarise I think the army is an excellent career for any
young person - I've never looked back. The benefits that the
army has to offer far outweigh those offered by civilian
employers, and if I had to choose between the two - the Army
would win every time.
In a few short years,
Guardsman Chris Goodayle has become a thoroughly proficient
and experienced Infantryman. He has served in both the
Southern and Northern hemispheres, in several operations,
both on his feet and in armoured vehicles, he is currently
deployed on operations with the Battalion in Northern
A CAREER IN THE COLDSTREAM GUARDS
Guardsman Chris Goodayle
passing the entry and selection requirements, I found myself
at the steps of Brookwood railway station in Surrey,
nervously awaiting my new life, which would start with Phase
1 recruit training at the Army Training Regiment, Pirbright
in Surrey. Phase 2 training then takes the recruit on to Catterick in Yorkshire, so in total you spend around six
months in training before joining the Battalion.
training you learn to cope with hard graft, you gain
self-respect and self-confidence, and you become very proud
of your Regiment. You gradually develop the ability to push
yourself further than you have ever done before in an
environment that enables you to make friends for life.
training culminates in the Passing Out Parade, and you then
receive your first posting. I was posted straight to the 1st
Battalion Coldstream Guards, then based at Munster in
Germany. The Battalion was equipped with the Warrior
Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
As a new
Guardsman in the Battalion I was extremely anxious about
what was awaiting me, but was quickly made to feel at home
and was soon employed as a Warrior gunner within a rifle
company. The Battalion held a gunnery course and before long
I had become proficient in the use and maintenance of the 30
mm Rarden cannon, the 7.62 mm Hughes chain gun and their
associated sighting systems.
major exercise was in April 1997 and took me to Poland. This
gave me the opportunity to see different British regiments
and also Polish armed forces in action.
months of returning from Poland, I found myself posted to
Northern Ireland with 28 other Coldstreamers on attachment
to the Queen''s Royal Hussars. This tour gave me my first
glimpse of operations as we became involved in the fight
against terrorism. The tour also ended with me being awarded
my first campaign medal.
Battalion moved from Germany to Windsor in Berkshire in
early 1998. I found the barracks awash with the traditional
red tunics and bearskin caps as the Battalion took up its
role of Public, or ceremonial, duties at the Royal palaces.
encounter with a tunic was not long after my return when I
found myself on Horse Guards Parade for Trooping of the
Colour. This was an experience that I will never forget.
after Trooping the Colour I was again on the move with
Number 2 Company as we prepared for a four month tour of the
Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. We deployed in July
1998 after a period of preparation on exercise in Wales.
Once in the Falklands we spent a lot of time carrying out
live firing in the vast open spaces of that wind-swept
island. The weather made training extremely demanding, so
that by the end of the tour we felt we were capable of
soldiering in almost any conditions. It also gave us the
opportunity to work closely with the Royal Navy and Royal
Air Force, as the only transport in the Falklands is by
boat, helicopter or on foot!
return to Windsor in November, we were given some
well-deserved leave before coming back to ceremonial duty.
Queen''s Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of the most
memorable experiences of my military career and I can never
help thinking of myself as a little boy looking through the
railings at the Guardsmen and wishing I could be one of
the highlight of my career came in February last year when I
was given the opportunity to serve with Warrior armoured
vehicles again. I was offered an attachment to the 1st
Battalion Irish Guards for their imminent deployment to the
Balkans. With tensions rising in Kosovo, we deployed to
Macedonia as part of a battle-group equipped with Challenger
tanks as well as our own Warriors. We spent a long time
training along-side other NATO forces before finally
crossing the border into Kosovo as part of a huge force. We
received a hero''s welcome, and the experience of entering
the capital city of Pristina ranks among the proudest
moments of my life.
currently on the fourth operational tour of my career; my
current posting is to Northern Ireland''s ''Bandit Country''
- South Armagh. There are two obvious benefits to the
soldier on these tours. Firstly, you work so hard that you
end up with quite a lot of money by the end, and secondly
you get to see the Armed Forces working flat-out and at
As for my
future ambitions: they are to climb the promotional ladder
as soon as possible towards what every Guardsman should
aspire to be - Regimental Sergeant Major!
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