Ex Royal Navy thinking of joining Army reserve

#1
Morning All, I left the RN in 2014 after 10 years service behind me. Since leaving I’ve bounced around from job to job basically unable to settle which is impacting on my family life. I am currently working as a private hire driver (self employed) so I can choose when and how much I work. It’s not ideal as I left the RN with engineering quals and as a LH (corporal equiv).

I’m thinking of joining a local infantry reserve reg (liverpool) and at 32 years old was wondering if anyone has any advice, points good and bad.

Main reasons for considering this, I am still fit and healthy, got the forces mentality and banter levels (can give and receive), don’t fancy the RNR as I want something more active, this civvy bollocks Is lonely as the ppl I consider mates are either still in the RN or live in different parts of the country.

If I could afford to live on £14900 a year I’d join the regs tomorrow but unfortunately my kids like food and clothes so that option is null and void however I wouldn’t of minded starting afresh.

Any advice lads/ladies very much appreciated.

Thanks
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#3
Hello,

Quick background from me.

I left the RN in 2007 for much the same reasons as you. Shit money, met a bird, blah blah blah.

I ended up joining the TA and did 5 years. I enjoyed every minute however it’s worth pointing out that I was in quite a unique regiment (HAC) and the experience there is very different to the rest of the TA. My experience on wider TA matters is limited, but on the whole the TA does seem to be better organised than the RNR, with many more opportunities for sport, AT and deployments.

I moved away from London in 2012 and commuting to my unit was no longer an option. No other TA unit really floated my boat so I decided to give the RNR a try.

The first few years were an utter gang ****. The recruitment process took around 18 months and once I’d got into rig they had no idea how to employ me. The CO at my unit wanted me to go to Raleigh again and start from scratch as an AB2 (yeah cheers, Ive spent over 1000 days at sea). On top of this I wasn’t paid for the first 6 months or issued any kit due to “JPA issues.”

Not a great start.

I fired off some snottograms to some senior people and things eventually got sorted. I was reinstated at my old rate and all my JPA competencies from the RN and TA were reinstated.

Once up and running I found the whole experience still very weak to be honest. Zero opportunities for sea time and very few courses or activities to speak of. The entire RNR is geared up towards their 2 week annual camp in Cyprus. Other than the odd range weekend (which are ******* laughable compared to the TA’s) and lots of dinghy sailing, there really isn’t much going on.

As someone joining off the street the TA wins hands down in every respect.

However.........

In 2014 the RN Engineering Branch was formed. It is formed entirely of ex regulars and we operate in a similar way to a TA national unit. You join at your old rate and pay scale and are employed as an ME or WE basically doing as much or as little as you can.

Core activities are flying out to support mid deployment maintenance periods and working in the dockyards. I’ve been to Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Cyprus and Dubai in the past 2 years.

If you live local to one of the yards (or Abbeywood) you can use it as a casual job doing the odd few days here or there working for either Engineering Support Group, Refit Support Group or onboard.

This is by far the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in either the TA or RNR and I’d definitely recommend giving it a look if you’re an ex ME, WE or are currently working in a technical role for your civvy job (it’s rare, but we have take on ex dabbers who are working as mechanics etc).

Happy to answer any Qs.

Ravers
 
#4
Hi Ravers many thanks for the reply. I did go through the whole stage of joining the RNR which took around 12 months, the recruiter I had weren’t the best and after all the emails and phone calls between us and discussing the RNR she somehow cocked it up and had me booked into Raleigh ready to go back in as a regular and after that and her attitude towards the cock up I just said leave you’ve just reminded me of one of the reasons why I left.

I always felt like I’d of been suited more to the army especially infantry, I was a WE but in all honesty I don’t enjoy engineering at all so at my age and current situation it’s probably the army reserve for me.

Thanks for the info much appreciated have a great new year
 
#5
Hi Ravers many thanks for the reply. I did go through the whole stage of joining the RNR which took around 12 months, the recruiter I had weren’t the best and after all the emails and phone calls between us and discussing the RNR she somehow cocked it up and had me booked into Raleigh ready to go back in as a regular and after that and her attitude towards the cock up I just said leave you’ve just reminded me of one of the reasons why I left.

I always felt like I’d of been suited more to the army especially infantry, I was a WE but in all honesty I don’t enjoy engineering at all so at my age and current situation it’s probably the army reserve for me.

Thanks for the info much appreciated have a great new year
Who was the RNR recruiter?
 
#8
Her surname was Wilkins. I won’t post her full name as it’s not a big deal to me now.
Interestingly, I was office manager at Liverpool AFCO at the time of your application to rejoin the service.

As ever, there are most definitely two sides to every story, as I'm sure you are fully aware.
 
#9
Hi, yes fully aware of two sides and I wasn’t being nasty in my comments here, merely replying to someone regarding the situation around my Previous RNR application. When the mistake occurred I CCd the chief who was there at the time in the hope he could intervene and shed some light on the situation but nothing was acknowledged.
 
#10
Hi, yes fully aware of two sides and I wasn’t being nasty in my comments here, merely replying to someone regarding the situation around my Previous RNR application. When the mistake occurred I CCd the chief who was there at the time in the hope he could intervene and shed some light on the situation but nothing was acknowledged.
When in a hole, it's best to stop digging. I'll leave it at that.
 
#11
If your on the taxi's I guess most of your income will be weekends, which will conflict with , yep, weekends away with the reserve. More weekends have just been introduced as mandatory. The army pay won't match your civvie wage. If you give up Friday night,all day sat, most of Sunday for a weekend away on a private's wage and you earn more in civvie job then your going to be out of pocket and why should you be , just to meet someone else's criteria. But if that suits you then fill your boot's. You will probably have to do these alpha , bravo weekend's and a 2 week recruit's course either at altcar or Grantham. That's if you survive the wait .some people have waited so long because of the recruiting system they gave up.
Don't join 156. It's gash.....trust me.
Try one of the national unit's still knocking about, they haven't all been disbanded. minimum 19 day's , you can do more if you want to. If you do decide and join after a while you will understand the ways of the army system and make it work for you.
 
#12
No holes being dug at all I’m stating a fact that my application was messed up. If you have something you would like to say then please do.
 
#13
No holes being dug at all I’m stating a fact that my application was messed up. If you have something you would like to say then please do.
 
#15
When I applied I was I was told the joining process goes through the RN then once everything has been done I.e medical, fitness etc it goes over to RNR. I queried my application when I was told I was going Raleigh and I thought this was part of the RNR process until a friend of mine who had recently joined another RNR unit said he didn’t have to do it.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#16
Hi Ravers many thanks for the reply. I did go through the whole stage of joining the RNR which took around 12 months, the recruiter I had weren’t the best and after all the emails and phone calls between us and discussing the RNR she somehow cocked it up and had me booked into Raleigh ready to go back in as a regular and after that and her attitude towards the cock up I just said leave you’ve just reminded me of one of the reasons why I left.

I always felt like I’d of been suited more to the army especially infantry, I was a WE but in all honesty I don’t enjoy engineering at all so at my age and current situation it’s probably the army reserve for me.

Thanks for the info much appreciated have a great new year
No worries. If Engineering isn’t for you then obviously the branch won’t float your boat.

The TA/Army Reserve is good but very different to the RN.

You’ll probably have to start entirely from scratch (as I did), but this isn’t a bad thing and you’ll learn a lot along the way.

One of the things that I found benefited me massively in the TA was my ability to administer myself in complete darkness and general tidyness from the RN.

Sounds silly but all those years getting up to go on watch in the middle of the night and getting dressed in the dark without making a noise really help when packing up a basha at 1am in a pitch dark forest.

A one hour stag will feel like child’s play compared to a 6 hour defence watch in the ops room.

Likewise our ingrained OCD from countless kit musters at Raleigh means you’ll be extra cautious of losing kit in the field and have a general head start in just keeping your shit in one sock.

Good luck with it.
 
#17
Thanks buddy much appreciated, more than willing to start from scratch as being an ex matelot entering a pongos world is a different kettle of fish. Thanks again Ravers
 
#18
Just go for it. It sounds like you've already made your mind up to join the infantry.
Capita seem to have sorted themselves out. I got to the assessment centre just under two months after my application to join went in. I might be an exemption though and i had no prior service.
Joining has been one of the best and most rewarding things I've done.
 

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