Four mini-buses full of excited children headed off to Bulford Camp in Wiltshire to spend the day with the army! Major Lee greeted us all at the gate (which, by the way, was guarded by 2 soldiers with guns) and told us a bit about himself. He grew up on a council estate in London, left school with no qualifications but then joined the army at 16 and having risen through the ranks, 34 years later he is now an officer in charge of a battalion. Next we were off to try out rifle shooting- everyone had a go – 10 rounds of ammunition each – at a target. We were helped by some soldiers and one or two kids even scored a bullseye!
There was time for big games of British Bulldog and of course football before we all set off to the woods for a picnic with a difference! It was army rations all round. Each child was given their own box complete with foil pouches of such culinary delights as Chickpea Curry, Chicken Corma, Tomato Pasta Salad and even Bangers and Mash. We had mini stoves to boil water and proper army billy cans to cook with and everyone loved it! Afterwards, it was time to camouflage up ready for war games. Most of the kids were completely unrecognisable as they plastered on thick layers of brown, green and mustard coloured paint.
Then they wrapped themselves in leaves and ivy and charged off in teams to play Capture the Flag. Later we were able to look round some of the tanks and the Major has promised that next time we come we can drive them. Watch this space. So you can imagine the faces of the parents as the kids all clambered out of the buses at the end of the day, clutching ration boxes, their faces still camouflaged- not to mention their clothes… A fantastic, memorable day. We are thinking the army might have a few new recruits too!