Suffolk Woman's Army Dream

15 February 2010, 00:00

A Suffolk woman's taking the brave step of joining the Army, and she's letting Heart follow her journey.

My name is Alexandra; I am 24 years old and live in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds.  I am originally, from the Maidenhall estate in Ipswich and went to Chantry High School. In October 2001, at the age of 16, I left Ipswich and joined the Royal Air Force as a Personnel Administrator. After finishing training I was posted to RAF Northolt in Middlesex as an Accounts Clerk, I then completed a posting on 32 (The Royal) Squadron as a Squadron Administrator. During my time at RAF Northolt, I undertook a 4 month detachment to the Falkland Islands. Upon returning from the Falkland Islands, I was posted to RAF Honington, to No 15 Squadron, RAF Regiment again as a Squadron/Human Resources Administrator. I returned to the Falkland Islands as part of a Squadron deployment.  In July 2006, I undertook a detachment to Afghanistan returning in December. At this time, I began to doubt my future in the services and having never experienced life as a civilian; I decided to leave the RAF and was discharged in November 2007.

Since leaving the RAF, life has been unsettled and I have failed to settle into civilian life.  Fortunately, part of the reason I decided to leave the forces when I did, was so that I could return after experiencing the civilian world.  I have been working in Human Resources since leaving the RAF, but feel that I need a new challenge and a role where I can role my sleeves up and really get involved.  After much contemplation, I have begun the application process to join the British Army. It is my hope to join the Royal Corps of Signals as either a Communications Systems Engineer or an Electronic Warfare System Operator.

So, I hear you asking yourselves now, ‘why is she writing this and posting it online for the whole world?’ Well, there are several reasons, firstly quite selfishly; it will help keep me motivated. Having people monitoring your progress and checking in on what you are up to is a real motivator. Mostly, I want to change people’s perceptions of the Army. I was always brought up with a negative impression of the Army and that is unfair, the men and women of all the Armed Forces do an amazing job and I have experienced that first hand. I believe that other people share those misconceptions of the Armed Forces and those that serve their country in the UK and overseas.  Many young women I speak to do not see that Armed Forces as a potential career for them as they see it as a ‘man’s world’ and this could not be further from the truth. The Armed Forces strongly encourage applications from females and there is no doubt that women are just as capable as men. I would like people that are thinking of joining the Army to experience through my story the selection process and what is involved and how through such a rigorous recruitment process the Army select the best so that they are the best. Even somebody such as myself, with previous military experience, who has served in the UK, overseas and on Operations still has to go through this selection process to ensure that I am suitable for the Army and to be sure that the Army is suitable for me.

This is my journey...


British Army Recruit Battery (BARB) Test

This is my first challenge on my selection path, this is a test made up of five sections as follows:

  • Reasoning
  • Letter Checking
  • Number Distance
  • Odd One Out
  • Symbol Rotation

The purpose of this test is to help match you to a job in the Army by asking you a series of questions. My BARB test is on Monday 15 February 2010 at the Army Careers Office in Norwich.

It is my hope that my results are suitable for me to apply to the Army at least one of my desired roles. However, the results could open up an opportunity, that maybe I had not previously considered. I’m actually feeling quite nervous about this, I mean what happens if my results say that I am not suited to a technical trade or any role in the Royal Signals? I have been given a book by the Careers Office to practice and get used to the style of questions and I have been practising online as well. 

If results are as hoped, then the next stage is to request my service records and I’ll be issued with medical paperwork to be completed by my doctor. I can’t see any issues there, I am healthy and fairly’s a developmental area for me as I have only just been declared fit after a car accident last year where I damaged my hamstring tendon. But I am feeling great and have already begin a new running regime, but more about that another time.

Wish me luck!