On Thursday 11 May Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association had the great pleasure of welcoming its military and civilian Association members to its annual meeting, which this year took place at NHS Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel.
Proceedings began with a welcome and introduction by the Association’s President and Lord-Lieutenant for West Lothian, Ms Moira Niven MBE, recently returned from attending His Majesty The King’s Coronation in London. A briefing on the latest and ongoing work of Lowland RFCA was then delivered by Chairman Captain Andrew Cowan RNR.
The rest of the meeting was dedicated to a series of briefings by representatives from each branch of the Reserve Forces. First up was Colonel Dougie Cochran, Deputy Commander 19th Light Brigade. The brigade was reformed in 2021 under Future Soldier and is tasked with home defence and home ‘resilience’ duties. Throughout his address, Colonel Cochran emphasised that as a newly formed brigade, there would be much focus on how the units under its command will ‘think differently, communicate differently and operate differently’ to produce a ‘more employable and more deployable Combat Army Reserve’.
Next came a briefing from Commander Michael Howarth, Commanding Officer of HMS Dalriada in Glasgow. Commander Howarth outlined how the Maritime Reserve is currently undergoing a transformation process, embracing new technologies such as Virtual Reality in its training facilities.
Accompanying Commander Howarth was Able Seaman (AB) Kieran Nicholson, a Reservist who had recently returned from a year’s mobilisation on HMS TAMAR. AB Nicholson detailed his adventures at sea which included visiting Australia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. The extent of his travels and the breadth of new skills acquired at such an early stage of his Reserve career impressed and delighted many of the meeting’s attendees.
The briefings for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force came from Flight Lieutenant Jim Martin, Acting Officer Commanding 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron and Squadron Leader Derek Read, Officer Commanding 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron. Both speakers gave updates on the upcoming establishment of new Reserve Support Wings across the UK, the work that each of their units had carried out over the course of the last year and some key engagements events that they had enjoyed, including the Standard Presentation for 602 Squadron that took place last summer and the participation of four Reservists from 603 Squadron in Operation GOLDEN ORB as part of the King’s Coronation celebrations.
After a brief open forum and closing remarks from the Association Chairman, President and Chief Executive Colonel Ted Shields, the guests enjoyed an informal buffet supper together, with many commenting on the exceptional quality of the briefings and the speakers who delivered them.