Soldier receives top awards

Rifleman Greg Laidler
Rifleman Greg Laidler

A HARTLEPOOL soldier has won two top Army awards after completing his military training.

Rifleman Greg Laidler, from the Burn Valley area of Hartlepool, was picked for the award by his colleagues for “standing out” from his peers while completing a Combat Infantryman’s Course.

The 20-year-old successfully completed the course at the Infantry Training Centre, in Catterick, North Yorkshire, and then scooped the Soldiers’ Soldier and Best Recruit awards.

His platoon commander, Serjeant Stephen Metcalf, said: “Rifleman Laidler has won both the Soldiers’ Soldier and Best Recruit awards.

“The Soldiers’ Soldier prize is awarded by the riflemen themselves, which makes it a true honour.

“The training team chose him as the Best Recruit because he consistently stood out from his peers and, simply, he was the hardest working rifleman in the platoon.

“He should be proud of his achievement.”

Rifleman Laidler, who was an industrial electrician before he joined the Army, told the Hartlepool Mail that he signed up despite his mum being unhappy at the decision.

He said he didn’t really enjoy his old job and had friends in the Army, so followed in their footsteps.

He is now looking forward to being sent on his first operations with his comrades.

He said: “I didn’t really like my job and I was always going to join the Army.

“I’ve got a few friends who joined before me and they were enjoying life and they were an influence.

“There are some things about the Army life, like marches carrying all your kit and sleeping out in the open, that take a bit of getting used to, but I pretty much enjoyed most of the course at Catterick.

“I’ve done the best I can and I have helped others out where I can.

“My mum’s happier now that she can see I am doing well in the Army.

“I am just looking forward to going on operations now, it is what I joined for.”

Rifleman Laidler will complete HGV driver training before going on some well-earned leave.

He will join his new unit the 4th Battalion The Rifles in Bulford, Wiltshire.

He was due to receive his awards at the pass out parade ceremony at the Infantry Training Centre today.