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Veterans welcome a new generation of soldiers

The Joining Forces programme has now ended

Joining Forces was an Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust supported programme in partnership with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. It was delivered by 12 local projects across England by local Age UKs and SSAFA branches. After 3 successful years, the programme has now ended. Many of the pages in this section will still be useful for information and advice. Alternatively, you can look at the relevant sections of the Age UK website.

On Friday 14 September, older veterans from Joining Forces Portsmouth attended the passing out ceremony for a new generation of soldiers at the Army Training Centre (ATC) Pirbright at Alexander Barracks in Woking.

By invitation

The group were the guests of Captain Jonathan Studwell, who invited them after hearing an interview raising awareness of the group on BBC Radio Solent. On the day, they witnessed Normandy and Rhine Platoons be inspected by Major General Benjamin John Bathurst CBE, after which they enjoyed tea and sandwiches with the units and their families.

A shared history

The group travelled the 50-off miles between Portmouth and Pirbright by minibus. During the journey, Carol Elliott, Business Development Manager at Age UK Portsmouth, discovered that one of the older veterans had a close connection with Pirbright. “I started off like these lads here today,” says David John Millington, who passed out here as part of the 1st Battalion Grenedier Guards almost 50 years ago. “I’ve spoken to some of these young trained soldiers. They’re very intelligent people and want to know what [we’ve] done. They want to gain from [our] experience, and I’ve got a lot of experience to offer them.”

An enjoyable day

“Very caring, very kind, and [treated] with the greatest respect,” says David of how he and his fellow veterans were treated during their visit. “It’s been absolutely divine – couldn’t have been better!”

Watch the video above for more on the older veterans’ visit to Pirbright.

Joining Forces Portsmouth

Joining Forces Portsmouth provides befriending support and activities for older military veterans and their dependants in Portsmouth and the surrounding area, completely free of charge.

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Last updated: Jun 16 2020

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