BATUK - Probably the Worst Training Team in the World

How do you rate BATUK HQ?

  • Bent over backwards for us

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Just got back from a pre-Afghan training exercise in Kenya. Not too bad a package, nice and hot and fairly arduous. However there was one big let down (RAF flights aside).

BATUK HQ staff are a nightmare. It seems that it is all too much like hard work for them to give any support to the exercising troops.

When the BG had a serious shortage of drinking water, it took BATUK a long time to sort out a solution (hot country, dodgy water pumps, hmm does not take too much to realise you need a ready reserve).

The BATUK book lists all the vehicles that the BG will have. Well maybe they are in Kenya but they certainly are not on the road. I appreciate that the fleet is very old and knackered but! The last exercise was in Nov 06, so they had about 3 months to sort through the fleet and repair at least the majority of wagons. But this obviously would interrupt their Christmas break/safari/afternoon tea.

A couple of flights were delayed in Nairobi for 24 hors and so the guys thought it would be good to go to the gym, but alas it was OOB to exercising troops - apparently we would stop the BATUK HQ staff from using the gym. This must have been where they all were cos they were not around the camp (mind you it was a weekend). So perhaps we could go for a swim, Nope that was OOB too. So that left watching the footy in the bar. Except at half time we were told it was really only for Officers and Seniors (preferably from BATUK) so could all ORs leave. :frustrated: Fortunately one of the OCs had the sense to get involved and told the BATUK staff to sling it.

Since BATLSK became BATUK they seem to have forgotten that they are there to SUPPORT the exercising troops. Give the potential of the place, if they had the attitude of BATUS or BATSUB staff it would be awesome. But alas it seems that the exercising troops are an embuggerance that have to be put up with 4 times a year. I got the distinct impression that BATUK would prefer we did not come, but if we did then would we mind awfully not disturbing their last bit of empire


BATLSK was just as bad. I was there in 1992 and it was the same then. Pool OOB to exercising troops, separate dining areas - ex troops had to use mess tins, PS had china plates, generally a bunch of tossers who felt ex troops were 3rd class (below the LECs even).
We were stuck there for a week when a Tristar broke (shock..) and we could only have beer served to us from the side door of the bar, when the barman didn't have any PS to serve.


One Army eh? Lucky really that you arent TA or they may have asked you to pay to breathe!
Every time I am told that things aren't what they used to be, someone posts things like this to confirm that the Army never changes. I can remember a certain WO's and Sgt's Mess in Chichester that had 'Cheese Board Permanent Staff and a 'Cheese Board Courses'.

Fom the MOD Website:

BATUK in Africa
Romantic images of the colonial lifestyle in Africa are far from the truth for members of the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) who live a very down-to-earth working life.
It is a full five-day week for staff, even if it is under the African sun with the world’s most abundant wildlife on their doorstep.
The unit, consisting of just 12 permanent and 27 temporary duty staff, and supported by more than 150 locally employed civilians, is responsible for organising and facilitating the Army's programme of exercises and training in Kenya.
BATUK lead the life of riley - always have done.

The organisation exists to provide a certain type of individual with an all expenses paid holiday. They most certainly do not provide anything like a service to anyone, save themselves.

The latest episode for the 12 Bde unit concerned merely serves to highlight that fact.

Why this situation has been allowed to continue this long is beyond me. BATUS used to be much the same, but is now a much more forward leaning organisation and actually goes out of its way to deliver useful training in response to the needs of the exercising unit. Gone are the days of (supposedly) elite armoured warfare experts criticising your every move...apparently! :D

Even more astonishingly, there are serious moves afoot to downgrade BATSUB for use by Coy Gps only and hold all BG size trg at BATUK! I hope that BATSUB's attitide is exported as well...

As Wooger says:

...Give the potential of the place, if they had the attitude of BATUS or BATSUB staff it would be awesome. But alas it seems that the exercising troops are an embuggerance that have to be put up with 4 times a year. I got the distinct impression that BATUK would prefer we did not come, but if we did then would we mind awfully not disturbing their last bit of empire...
Quite so, God rot the lot of them.
Same thing happens at South Cerney on Joint Venture - officer's all eff off back to whichever 15 star RAF camp they were staying on, the assorted pond life that actually do the work get to use a couple of manky old exercise bikes in the back of the ex. hangar (gym OOB to ex troops) or pack into a tiny back room of the NAAFI bar (main bar OOB to ex troops) to escape their 30 man rooms.


The gym at south cerney is OOB to exercise troops because it isn't big enough for the members of permenant staff, as far the bar being OOB not got a clue because we don't go in there unless we have to.
Helmet On!!!
I was Temp Staff in BATLSK in 93-94. I have to admit the accom for the exercising troops was pretty basic. But then the camp itself (it was being upgraded when i left) was only there for the troops to pass through and couldnt cater for periods longer than a few days.
Reference the Pool, when i was there we emptied it, refurbished it and made sure the chlorine thingy was working properly. But if a few exercising lads wanted to use it, they could. Problem is, few lads turned into a Coy, which sometimes caused problems, one of which was a broken leg. Soon after it was decided to ban all exercising troops. But this tended to go through phases.
The gym was fecking tiny so i can see why only PS/TS were allowed to use it, i didnt because it was so small.
I have to say though, our lads on the 6months det, did dig out blind for exercising lads, even down to getting them down town to the delights of Nairobi at nite!!!! There was a big thing about no exercising troops allowed in Nairobi, unless you were a member of the Hereford Boathouse Club! But then they were booked into the Intercontinental!
But i agree with the comment about high ranking officers coming out on paid trips to use the British Forces Safari Clubs land rovers for stupid money and have fuel for free, this did take the piss.
It's always the same story. The headquarter shinies protect their cushy posts at the expense of those who are there to work. BATUS is no different, and all those REMFs in Split and Sipovo who complained about visiting, or troops in transit, using up their hot water, should hang their heads in shame. Some of us hadn't seen a shower in two months. I also saw welfare packages being munched through in the bde HQ Sipovo, by people in body armour, I never saw either up country.
Haven't been to BATUK but BATUS didn't seem like what is described above. When I was last out there we could use the gym, although it was some way away. The accommodation was OK for what it was. To be honest we were too busy, either on exercise or working on the vehicles/BGHQ to use many of the camp facilities.

I always felt that the BATUS staff I dealt (almost entirely the training staff) gave us a pretty good service, I have heard from someone who worked on the temp staff out there that they get worked pretty hard as they basically had to work the same hours as the exercising troops plus the drive onto and off the training area in the mornings and evenings. The way he put it was that they work longer hours but don't have to wear cam cream and get a shower most nights (I'm sure there's more to it than that!). I did get the impression that there might have been a bit of two tier thing with some of the camp based staff living a more cushy lifestyle, certainly in the little contact I had with them, at least some of them seemed a lot less wilco than the guys delivering the training. I caveat this by saying it was a while ago...
I was Admin SNCO on the first Ex Pineapple to BATLSK in 93. It was a 6 week trip to scratch the surface of clearing the training areas of unexploded ordnance. We we're neither exercising troops, PS or TDS, just some eod organism in between them all.

We got "accommodated" in Kahawa Camp for a few days to draw enough kit to set up a secure base at Mpala Farm just in a bit from Nanyuki.

We played the "Here on Government business" card to the hilt. If we hadn't played it we'd have got treated like shit.

That was a hoofing good trip.
I was a Lcpl in charge of warehouse and local purchases at BATLSK for 13 months a in 84/85
We had a great time, best time of my life. Try buffalo bills in Nairobi at night. And the new Florida nightclub. But put something on the end of it lol
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