131 Independent Commando Squadron RE (V), Kingsbury, North West London

Very interested in joining this branch of the Territorial Army.

I have contacted them direct to have a chat but before I do, I was wondering if any members or ex-members were on here and could give some advice and insight.


Ben Wood
Also, to be honest, it's gonna be a little while before I sign up as I'm recovering from a slipped disc but whilst on the mend I'd like to collect the kit I'll need so does anyone possess a list they can share of kit to buy before I join. I like to be prepared (and spread the cost!!).
Have done research and everything I have found on them is below. Will be meeting them tuesday night for a chat so will put more here after. Shame www.131cdo.com doesn't work anymore but you can search their monthly newsletter.

Hope this helps anyone else wanting to join 131: -

My questions to AFCO Online

• First of all, do they have Plumbers in 131? I'm not expecting it but this would greatly narrow down my options.

• If not, what roles are available in 131?
. All RE roles are available

• As a plumber joining another TA Regiment, where would I train? (I live in Eltham, South East London)
.You train at the TA unit base or wherever they need you to be.

• If I joined as a plumber, do I need my gas qualification or could I gain it with the army?
. No.

• With regards to my commitment, apart from the days of either 19 or 27 for training, how does it work if I am needed on operations or exercises?
. As a trained member of the TA, you are liable for call-out under the Reserve Forces Act,1996. This legislation was drawn up to help volunteer forces operate readily alongside Regular Forces.

If you join the TA, you indicate that you are prepared to take part in active service, whatever its nature, and there are sometimes circumstances under which you may be mobilised. However, unless the situation is extremely serious, we will usually ask for volunteers.

If you are mobilised your regular job will be legally protected. Deployment is usually preceded by a period of thorough training, which prepares volunteers for the specific military operation whether a humanitarian or peacekeeping task or a combat operation such as the recent war in Iraq.

In the event of a call-out, TA Volunteers and their employers have the right to seek exemption or deferral under certain circumstances.

• If I join another TA regiment first, would I have the opportunity to take the All Arms Commando Course at a later date and transfer myself to 131? (I'd like to get a hell of a lot fitter)
. Yes

131 Independent Commando Squadron RE (V) by Mr "DJ" - Ex Senior NCO

Note : Although this is a TA unit there are some very good tips from someone in the know about marine training - more on regular CTC to come.

The TA version of the regular 59 Independent Commando Squadron RE. The only TA unit attached to a regular brigade - 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. Every member must pass the Reserve Forces Commando Course at Commando Training Centre RM.

They undergo a 2 phase training programme. Phase 1 is the TA RE training phase - 3 week-ends with the squadron followed by a 2 week course at the RE depot in Minley, Surrey. Once students pass that they move onto Phase 2 - The commando course

The squadron runs it's own "beat-up" comprising of 6 week-ends run by it's own training team, followed by a 2 week course at CTCRM where the regular Royal Marine Training Team takes over. Essentially they do the same course as the regular marines, blistering onto the end of the regular course for the test fortnight. the tests are exactly the same - same weight, same times etc. See information on the commando tests.

The training is based on endurance and upper body strength - students must be able to climb a 30 ft rope carrying 35lbs. Often the best candidates are those with a triathlon background. Most, however, have very little knowledge of how to train for the course. We advise students to run at least 2-3 times per week + circuits or weights x 2 per week and at least one swim. We also offer advice on nutrition and treating injuries.

The course is highly intensive and many suffer from injuries. A typical drop-out rate is 75%. My course started with 25 and only 3 passed!. Once they have passed - students can then choose their trade - combat engineering, diving, plant, Motor Transport or signals. Other areas like parachuting are also available. and life in the Squadron begins from there!

Someone asking questions on a forum: -

131 Independent Commando Squadron RE (V)
I have done 6 years of TA with a desk bound company, trade was interesting but I am now looking for something a bit more physically challenging whilst still performing a trade.

Before I phone up, can any one with experience of 131 help with these questions?

1) Which bits of engineering does the London troop specialise in?

2) Do I need to offer any trade like skills to be of use to the troop, or can the trade skills be taught?

3) What, in order, are the priorities of the troop? MATTS/Bounty, Engineering or Commando training/upkeep?. please don't say MATTS/Bounty

4) What is the general age of the troop? I am 33.

Thanks for any answers.


1. Re: 131 Independent Commando Squadron RE (V)
On the off chance you haven't found an answer to this elsewhere:

1. London is HQ and Support Tp, so all the RE support type trades. POMs, C3S, Drivers, also REME LAD, AGC, CMTs etc... London also maintains a section of Cbt Engineers. Pretty much you've got all the options in London.

2. You'll be taught it unless you want to be REME, in which case I think you need to know the basics of the internal combustion engine.

3. As a trained soldier you're priority will be Cdo Training. Once you've earned your green lid you'll need to get qualified in trade (assuming you aren't transferring with something directly applicable). When that's cracked the Sqn training program alternates between Cdo type stuff and Engineering stuff.

4. We just had one Sapper pass the Cdo Cse at 39. He's a bit of an exception, but plenty of people join the sqn in their late 20s/early 30s. You certainly won't stand out on age, and are highly unlikely to be the oldest person in training.

Best bet is to rock up on a Tuesday night for a look at the Sqn, or give them a call. Details here:


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