Reserves Day 2020 – COVID-19 support

Reserves Day recognises the valuable contribution reservists across the UK make to the Armed Forces. Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve as part of the military.

The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel. This year, we put a spotlight on Reservists and units within the North West which have been assisting in the Coronavirus pandemic…

Royal Marines Reserve

Marine Rogers, has been helping in the fight against Covid-19 as a fourth-year medical student drafted into hospital to assist junior doctors. His Duties have ranged from ward round documentation and clerking through to clinical skills required on the ward such as cannulation and phlebotomy. He is keen and motivated to be helping out in hospital during this once in a lifetime emergency, using it as an opportunity to further develop his abilities.

Having earned his green beret over 2 years ago, he now balances his medical training in the NHS with concurrent training in the Royal Marine Reserve, learning and utilising transferable skills between both organisations. He applies the commando qualities of determination, unselfishness, courage and cheerfulness to his medical career as he strives to become his own personal best and serve the community he lives in. 

156 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps

In March 2020, Reserve personnel from 156 Regt RLC responded to a call from their Headquarters  requesting personnel who were qualified as a Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) Forklift Operator to start work immediately at a local NHS distribution site at Haydock. Reserve personnel conducted a reconnaissance of two large NHS distribution centres in Haydock and Runcorn for potential support tasks in the coming days.  On 24 March 63 Reserves deployed to both distribution centres and began working to pick, label and deliver vital PPE across the NW and wider country, later rising to an average of 70 Reserve personnel each day across both sites.

The Commanding Officer 156 Regiment and the depot manager at the Runcorn NHS Distribution Centre

One of the Reserve soldier – WO2 Whitmore said “After serving on many Operational tours during my 22-year Regular Career, it is with great pride that once again I am serving Queen and Country to help fight the Covid19 virus, initially as a Command Team Soldier at the Runcorn Warehouse for 3 weeks. I now work in a Civilian capacity but now as a Shift Manager with 9 of our Regiment’s Soldiers at the same distribution site, containing to provide vital PPE to local hospitals.

Private Farrell said “At the beginning of lockdown we were called upon to assist a local NHS distribution site. It made me immensely proud to support such an important operation. Although I was there to assist in the sorting and effective distribution of vital supplies to the NHS, I also got the opportunity to assist in the catering department which showed how diverse the skills of a reservists can be.

75 Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers

A task force featuring Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, the Army Reserve Centre and Hive Youth Zone has helped support the training of more than 100 NHS staff and students during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two local bases, the Army Reserve Centre (107 Lancashire & Cheshire Fd Sqn 75 Engineer Regiment V) and The Hive, both in Birkenhead, shared their facilities with the Trust to support essential training, enabling staff and students to be reassigned to various teams, including community nursing, care homes and COVID-19 testing.

Hayley Curran, head of learning and organisational development at the Trust, said, “We are thankful for the facilities that have been loaned to us, to empower our students and staff to care for our communities with confidence.”

The training, including basic life support, wound care and medicines management, began in April and is set to continue for the coming weeks. Trust staff and students have access to free parking on site and IT facilities, refreshments, and most importantly enough space to safely socially distance. Captain Rich Barclay from the Royal Engineers, on behalf of the Army Reserve, said: “We were delighted to open our doors to the NHS students and staff and share our facilities for such an important cause, our communities count on these amazing frontline workers now more than ever.”  

Liverpool URNU – Ciaran Finn

The 22-year-old from Altrincham, who serves with Liverpool’s University Royal Naval Unit, has worked at the temporary hospital – set up specifically to deal with the pandemic in the North West – since it opened last month.

He is now juggling his degree in Business Studies with Spanish and Portuguese at Liverpool with providing life-saving care in the temporary 750-bed facility established in Manchester’s G-MEX centre – more used to hosting political party conferences, trade fairs, TV shows and concerts than patients.

Ciaran had been working as a carer in a nursing home, where he saw the effects of the virus, and put his name forward to work at the new NHS facility.

He spends all his working day in PPE, assisting with medical procedures and recording observations, as well as supporting and helping patients – many seriously ill – as best he can. At times, it has been very difficult. (Case study credit – Royal Navy Reserves).

Reserve Forces