Thinking of joining... My options in Gateshead...

Hi all,

I've recently been giving some serious consideration to joining the TA and have spent a bit of time looking at the army website and the forums on here. I know there is an Intelligence unit based near me and the 4 Para in Hebburn also interests me for the physical challenge.

Has anyone got any experience of either of these units, or just 4 Para/Intelligence in general? I have read all the blurb and intelligence looks interesting but still not really clear what they do.

Also, once you are in, does the type of training you can get depend on your unit, for example if I was interested in outside or combat survival etc, would I need to be in a perticular unit?

I am going to contact the units directly, but prior to that wondered if anyone had any comments.

3 MI and 4 Para are somewhat different so make sure you get a good look at both before you commit.

The Paras - very good infantry with added parachutes, and I'm sure members thereof will be along to tell you more.

3 MI - your local Coy is a generalist MI Coy, so it covers the mainstream Int Corps activities of intelligence and security. To paraphrase in a manner to give the doctrinally pure spasms int is all about working out what the opposition are doing while security is stopping the opposition working out what we are doing. Descriptions do tend to be a bit vague I'm afraid at open source level - have you tried the MoD websites ? The regular Int Corps descriptions of the job apply to the TA, just only at weekends.

Once you're in and if you're happy to travel you can do more specialist activities elsewhere in the UK, don't think you'll be confined to what your local Det can offer.

Key attitudes are the ability to do boring but important jobs properly when tired, stressed and alone, the ability to pick up a whole mess of complicated facts quickly and make sense of them, to impose order on chaos while still making me a brew. Nowhere else do you get the opportunity to use your brain to materially affect the course of events at a junior level.

That said, if you have a burning desire to do the warry side of life nothing should stop you from doing a few years with the Paras then transferring - indeed it will probably help you within 3 MI.

Bear in mind as well that the Paras initial training package is better than 3 MIs. They run it themselves, while 3 MI subcontract much of it out which does make it look less appealing. Fix your eyes on what you want to do after that phase and make your mind up accordingly rather than relying on initial impressions.

Finally, I suspect both units will offer you ample opportunities to mobilise should you so wish.


Just go and talk to all the units you are interested in. If they don't seem interested in you, don't go back.




Get in contact with the Hebburn det, and see when they are running the next "Insight weekend". It will give you a look at the unit and the blokes you will be working with.

The website gives a good overview of the recruit training and P Coy, but oots is correct in that it is run inhouse, and will take around 5 months from start to finish (less your parachute course which you may have to wait a while for).

Hebburn is a rifle Pl location, so you could expect to do all the normal inf stuff. There is loads to learn, and you will be too busy getting good at the job to worry about any survival or under water knife fighting specialities. Good chances for skiing, diving and climbing expeditions every year though.

Afghanistan on the cards for 2008 if you are successful and fancy a deployment.



Give 4 PARA a crack mate, you won't regret it. Particulary at the begining of your career, as One_of_the_strange said, we are pretty much the only Unit that runs our own basic training package (we even run 23 SAS's now for the non previous experience lot), and from working at and with RTCs, there is a big difference there both in what you'll get to do but also in what you'll be required to do. Combine that with an absolute shitload of adventure training, good excercises and decent deployments with 2 or 3 para you can't do much better. Then again, I am probably slightly biased.....

Also, I think Hebburn is Anti Tanks these days? So you've got that role to train in too.

Plus we seem to get at least our fair share of foreign jollies!
I've no doubt that you will find your challenge in 4 Para. If you find Int Corps alluring then the best you can do is touch base with that unit.

Know that everyone is a soldier first, so you will learn and regularly exercise military skills wherever you go. Obviously the Infantry will excel at these, and will generally be expecting you to attain higher physical standards. If you're looking for a challenge don't overlook the more mainstream units available to you. In Newcastle and nearby you've got Infantry, Artillery, Engineers, RAMC, RMP, SAS(R), Sigs, RAC etc etc ... a wealth of trades and units to go for - some may be better than others, in terms of their quality of training, organisation and social scene, so it's worth looking around.

Whilst there will almost definitely be many more opportunities open to you in 4 Para and 3 MI, due to the nature of their respective roles, don't do yourself the injustice of not visiting other units in the area - you won't know what you're missing out on.

In terms of what training is available to you, usually you will only have the option of doing course packages which are universal (instructor courses, driving, Adventure Training etc etc) and ones specific to developing you in your trade skills. However, if you've got something specific in mind, throw it at the recruiting staff and discuss the particulars with them - they should give you a realistic 'yes or no' as to whether their unit, or the TA in general, offer the relevant training.


War Hero
3MIs' 2cnd best Company (25 (V) MI Coy) has a detachment in Gateshead with a cracking bunch of lads. Opportunities for good deployments and good training.

Get in touch with them for more information.

(We don't "touch base" in 3MI!!!)


War Hero
and if non of them floats your boat theres always the rmr up there in geordie land too


You could also check out the artillery in newcastle they have MLRS which is an awesome bit of kit. I have a few mates in 101 regt ra(v), they are a good bunch of lads.


ben0239 said:
You could also check out the artillery in newcastle they have MLRS which is an awesome bit of kit. I have a few mates in 101 regt ra(v), they are a good bunch of lads.
But how many rockets to they actually get to fire each year?



Im not sure, in a missile bty which is what i am in we fire one or two a year. One missile costs 45 grand.


So, awesome bit of kit, but only one or two rockets per person per year to fire...

I think I'll stay with Light Gun ;)


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