Teenage duo take on Army's toughest test
A FORMER roofer and a geography student have been battling it out in the toughest test set by the Army.
Trooper Josh Howells, from Fforestfach, and Officer Cadet George Edwards, from Gower, have been getting to grips with the tough 48-hour challenge called Exercise Cambrian Patrol.
The soldiers, both aged 19, were involved in the mental and physical endurance test over the Welsh Black Mountains.
It has a worldwide reputation of being the toughest test for the modern-day soldier and foreign troops have to win through their own competitions in their homeland for the right to be involved in the exercise.
The Cambrian Patrol takes place over seven phases and is made up of more than 100 teams and nearly 1,000 troops.
They have to march 55 km carrying full kit and equipment, weighing 60lbs, on the two-day patrolling mission.
Josh, who joined the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards — The Welsh Cavalry — earlier this year said: "Before I joined I worked with my father as a roofer.
"He's got his own company.
"I also studied electrical installation for a year.
"I wanted the challenge and to have the chance to travel when I joined.
"Our unit is based in Germany and we've prepared for Cambrian by training in Bavaria, but there are fewer hills there than in Wales."
Before the challenge the former Daniel James Community School pupil added: "Here, we know the terrain will force a big effort."
Teams from Norway, New Zealand, Ukraine, Pakistan, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Canada, Albania, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, India, Australia, Estonia, Poland, Greece and France, all competed in the exercise, which was first run in 1959.
Josh's team made it through the challenge and was awarded a certificate.
George, who was serving with the Wales University Officer Training Corps, managed to win a top award with his team — which was a first.
Military skills, stamina and dedication were judged during the patrol and soldiers were marked on a points system.
Gold, silver and bronze medals or certificates of merit are handed out to teams who completed the patrol depending on the number of points they gain during the exercise.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Russell Williams, aged 52, from Morriston, who was the Sergeant Major for the Assembly Area, Cambrian Patrol 2013, was on hand to ensure teams manoeuvred smoothly to the first drop-off point.
"This is my 50th year helping to ensure Cambrian goes well and every year you see a fair number of teams not completing the patrol — that's a reflection of how demanding it can be," he added.