REME metalsmiths

Hi all, I have been reading through arrse topics for a few months now looking for answers to questions.

Im joining the army this year and I was looking for a a bit of info on the trades I was looking at going into, and the trade Im trying to get info on now is REME metalsmith.

I was just wondering what a regular day would be for a metalsmith on camp and what would it be like on operatons in afghanistan as a metalsmith? what would a metalsmith do in afghan? would his time be speant mainly on a base like bastion fixing things?

Also how do you go about artificer training, or getting selected for it?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, Thanks. =)
In my day metalsmiths could not go Artificer per se. They had to go as another trade, usually Weapons I think.
Day to day would be repairing vehicles, making cages and earning nice backhanders for trailers, gates and signs!
Thanks for your fast reply.
So if a metalsmith was going to go tiffy he would have to retrain as an armourer? (Is that what you meant by weapons?)

If I wanted to go down the artficer route would I be better of joining as an armouer?

And does anyone know what they do in places like afghan? Do they get out much (Im guessing not, which isnt a problem) I cant really see what a metalsmith would/could do out on the ground with an arc welding torch..
Or do they stay on/in the base fixing things?
You would need to retrain yes, doesn't have to be as an armourer I know of a Mtsm who retraded to VM in order to go Tiffy.

In Afghan most Mtsm are in Bastion and don't tend to get out much although there are opportunities to do so. You would spend most of your time straightening bent metal and making souvenirs (for a price).
I joined as a metalsmith 23 years ago, then retraded in order to become an Artificer. I have no regret s at all in the route I took, I reckon I have had the best of everything.
As a metalsmith on Ops, you will spend most of your time in the FOB repairing vehicles and manufacturing all sorts of useful items - not just barbecues!. On ops as a metalsmith, I manufactured specialist items to enhance the protection on vehicles for the blokes out on the ground, I also got to make items in order to get vehicles back into the fight when spare parts were not available - normally with a very tight deadline attached. One thing you can be sure of, you will not be bored if you choose metalsmith.

If you decide to follow the Artificer route - and if you are selected - retraining just adds to your skill set.
Thanks, for the replys guys.

Nige, What did you re-trade as in order to become an artificer, if you dont mind me asking?
And how long after you finished training as a metalsmith did you go for / get selected for artificer training?

Also, I dont know if anyone can anser this, but with the skillset and the qaulifications you pick up as a metalsmith whilst in the army is it easy to find a job after service on civvi street?

Thanks again.
I joined up in 1986, passed Class1 course in 1991 and was promoted to Cpl in 1993, promoted to Sgt in 1995 passed Artificer selection in 1996 and started the retrade to Armourer in that year. Started Artificer course in 1998 after a whirlwind of courses and gunnery camps.

Metalsmith qualifications were City and Guilds / NVQ level 3 for class 1 course. If you do the Aluminium Armour repair course, there is no extra quals but the skill is recognised outside. You can also do the airframe welding course if you are lucky enough to be posted to AAC. Getting a job in civvy street as a metalsmith depends very much on your personal skills I think.
Metalsmith is the only true skilled trade left in REME go for it.
also nige you said you had to go on a whirlind of courses and 'gunnery camps' ?

does that mean you actually learnt to fire and use all of the small arms and weapons the british army has?

also do armourers get to go on the range with the weapons they have in the armouries?

i.e. if they were working/modifying/fixing a certain weapon, would they be able to take it down to the ranges to test fire it afterwards to make sure its working again etc?
The whirlwind of courses and gunnery camps was refernce to the fact that I completed my initial armourer course, spent 8 months at a unit, gaining experience by supporting all the gunnery camps I could, before attending the Class 1 course. I spent about 6 of the 8 months away from the unit covering ranges, gunnery camps and other unit training activities.

Gunnery camps are when the regiment moves to the range and spends a couple of weeks firing from dawn until past dusk. Basically it's the busiest part of the armourer's job as you are sat at the firing point ready to fix any problems that arise. The crews do not like to have broken guns at the range, so the pressure is on to fix it quick and fix it correctly.

You will have the opportunity to fire everything you fix, but the novelty soon wears off and you'll be happy to stand on the rear decks and watch the fruit of your labours operating correctly.
As a general rule, if you fix something that's broken in the armoury (i.e. not on a firing camp/range day) you won't test fire it. The good book says you should, but trying to get ranges booked, ammunition ordered and all the other admin done makes it almost impossible.
Thanks for the fast reply, that doesnt sound too bad actually.

So what is an armourers average day like at home on camp?

Also what do armourers do on operations i.e. in afghanistan? would it be like the metalsmith? Staying in camp/FOB fixing weapons that have faults when the patrols come in? Also if an armourer is stationed at a FOB like inkerman, right out in the thick of it would they be expected to mount the defenses/sangars and stag on like everyone else, or would they be too preoccupied fixing and maintaining weapons to do that?

(sorry about the 1000 questions)

thanks again nige.
There is no such thing as an average day :)
Most days you will turn up at work, grab a cup of coffee and start work. Your boss will give you a job to do, you go and do it. Some days you will be half way through something when the boss will come and tell you to do something else for an hour or twom then go back to what you were doing before. You could spend a couple of days inspecting weapons and fixing them, other days you could be stock taking your spare parts and cleaning your truck.

On ops, you will mainly fix broke stuff, however depending on operational needs, you could be used as a sentry, guarding the camp, crewing a vehicle between camps or pretty much any other task. I had REME tradesmen escorting convoys, guarding the camp and also washing dishes on my last tour with the British Army. The unit was under the pump and everyone had to help out, thats the way it is sometimes. The primary task was still keeping equipment going, we just had to multitask sometimes...
Yeah thats kind of what i expected, Which is quite fair, everyone has to muck in for the greater effort and help out where needed.

OK I thinkI have all the info I need, One more question though, well it will probably be 12 questions rolled into one big question, but hey, thats me. (lol)

Which trade did you enjoy the most? like, which training did you enjoy the most and which of the actual 'jobs' did you find more interesting / un-brain numbing to do? (if that makes sense)

And last but not least, If I wanted to go down the tiffy route which trade do you reccomend I join as? Would I have more chance getting selected for tiffy if i joined as an armr or does it not matter, would I still get all the same chances to do it as a mtlsmth?

Thanks again, mike :D
also to add onto SOOPAMANs questioning (cos this is pretty useful info for me too cheers fella!)
what do armourers tend to do when they leave the army back in civvie street?
alicio said:
also to add onto SOOPAMANs questioning (cos this is pretty useful info for me too cheers fella!)
what do armourers tend to do when they leave the army back in civvie street?
Hire out their services in Moss Side.

areet mate.
dont take this as gospel , cause im not in yet. but from reading on other posts and talking to the LAD lads at my TA detachment alot of armr's (depending on rank) when they leave get jobs in engineering as management. some get jobs in gun shops, gun makers etc but the jobs are few and far between, and then the very select lucky few who do get a decent break make it into film production as armourers and weapons trainers, plus they make sure everything is safe when shooting is going on and they have to look after all the weapons that are on set.. alot of estabilished film armourers in america actually have their own armouries of weapons that are used in films, but as i say these guys have been in the trade along time and are normally the guys that get the call, so its kinda 'who you know'

there are also jobs as force amourers for the police force's armed police, but thats like striking gold, it doesnt come around very often, however you could join the police as an officer then transfer..

and one of the tiffys in my sqn LAD was ex armr. he had done his full 22 as reglar armr (although he did go down the artificer route too), and then left and joined a TA detachment (my sqn) and got a mon-fri 9-5 job on an FTRS (full time reserve service) type deal.. these posts however are also few and far between.. but you get the benefit of working well into your twilight years as its just an on site job, no mobilisations, no annual camps or training packages to attend, as your basically a civilian working on site mainting the equipment..cushy little number if you ask me, especially as he has his full service pension to look forward too.. i think he left as AQMS in the reg. reme...

so there are jobs out there which you can turn your skills too but its a case of finding them and most likely having to travel long distances to work them..

hope that helps?

(remember though I am not really qaulified to answer that question, Its just what i have picked up mate)
cheers thats great given me a good insight!

just trying to choose my 2nd and 3rd choice at the mo, thinking armourer as one of them!

thanks again
no worries mate..

my 2 choices at the minute are armourer (i like guns) and metalsmith (i like fire) haha

I dont know what my third will be yet.. maybe shipwright? welder/joiner/carpenter/whatever else they do..

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