Light gunner, Para/Commando


I am currently in the early stages of applying to join the army, and still have a bit more time to decide on which job choice to pursue. At the moment i am swaying towards the Light gunner role. Could anyone shed some light on the whole para/commando route to this job? do you go through full Para/Commando training then transfer to those regiments or do you stay with the Royal artillery and use your new skills in a supporting role? thanks in advance for any advice.

Do you have the tat already?
7 RHA do P Company with all those who think airborne life is for them, 29 Commando do the all arms commando course which is the course for all non royal marines who will serve in 3 Commando Brigade. The nods (baby marines) have their own course as part of their training but the tests are the same. The gunners who join 7 RHA or 29 Commando always stay gunners. They have to do phase 1 and 2 training at the respective training establishment/School of Artillery then are posted to 7 or 29 if they have volunteered, do a beat up then attend either P Coy in Caterick or the AACC at Lympstone. Both courses are run by staff from the Para Regt and Royal Marines respectively but certainly Lympstone has RA instructors as section commanders or at least one at any one time.

Alot of people like the idea, volunteer, but de-select themselves in either phase 1 or phase 2. They should not as the courses are not as bad as you will hear. As long as you are fit, motivated, want a different coloured beret enough and are a decent soldier you should pass save for picking up an injury.

Now that was far too serious, back to the NAAFI Bar for me.
Thanks for the reply Albertous, that's cleared that one up!

Are you going to Harrogate as a junior or straight in as an adult? I was an adult, my lad was a junior. He found the whole funny coloured thing easier than me as he had had a year of physical stuff unlike the 28 weeks that I did then 29. 29 nowadays do a commando conditioning course then beat up before the aacc unlike in my day and you will not get near Lympstone until you are fit enough. Both nowadays take place at Oakhampton so you will not see "The Del" for quite a few months once you are posted to 29.


I am 24 so i will be going straight in as an adult! i am still not entirely sure as to what i want to do, although the sound of doing the para/marine training is very appealing i've still got to focus getting my arse into shape for joining up.


Airborne artillery get paid an extra £170.00 a month. Commando artillery get paid zilch extra.

for a skill they are never going to use most likely!

mate, join 7 Para RHA, and then when in company of 1,2 or 3 para, refer to yourself as being in '7 para' as often as you can!

or join 29 and become more corps pi55ed than RM themselves!

the choice is yours??

tip: go for 4/73, a be part of a real elite unit that have a unique role and not just a 'padded' light gunner role
I think it was becuase of the floppy beret thing


Book Reviewer


The gunners who join 7 RHA .... always stay gunners.

That may be the case as long as 7 RHA remain 'in role' though might not be if things change.

There is a historical precedent for this. When 7 lost their Airborne role in the mid 70s, there was a minor exodus to 1, 2 & 3 Para.

A similar thing happened with 29 Bty 4 Fd. In the late 70s/early 80s, the only Airborne Gunners were in 29 Bty. However, it was never officially a parachute unit per se. Our CO had been a BC with the 'old' 7 RHA. When 4 Fd was incorporated into 6 Field Force, he argued that, as 6 FF included 1 & 10 Para, at the very least, the OPs should be para-trained. It gradually increased to getting most the gun-crews para-trained (despite the fact that at that point the Light Gun was deemed not to be 'droppable' and had to be choppered in to the gun position) before the powers that be decided it was an unnecessary expense where the gun crews were concerned.

A similar thing happened with the old 289 Bty (V) who had been 'paired' (as RHA) with 7, then 're-roled' as a Cdo Bty and paired with 29 Cdo Regt before eventually being redesignated as neither. A lot of their lads jumped ship and joined either 10 Para or the RMR.