A RUTHIN soldier is ‘finally’ doing what he trained for after spending months manning a mobile coronavirus testing unit.

Gareth Davenport, a former Ysgol Brynhyfryd pupil, was recently deployed overseas for the first time to train alongside the French Army in Urban warfare.

The 19-year old fusilier, of the Tidworth based 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment, has his first year in the army transformed after being locked down for 10 weeks due Covid.

He is now working as an Infantry soldier, crossing the battlefield in a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle. after proving himself on the challenging international Exercise Gaulish Dragon.

Gareth said: “I was in training when covid kicked off and ended up being gated in Catterick (Infantry Trainign Centre) for two and a half months. It was absolutely disgusting. It was a really tough time, as I am not used to being away from home for so long. But because we were all in the same boat it was ok. We passed out in May 20 but nobody could come to the parade.

“Catterick lockdown was the hardest time I have ever had. Being away from my girlfriend and mum for so long was really really tough. But I got through it because of my mates there. Everyone was in the same boat.

“We all kept each other’s heads up. I was low often, but strangers became family in a split second. We were just looking out for each other. That and a lot of phone calls home.”

“After training I got 10 days at home, and then, after a week in work, went straight out to a mobile testing unit in Cirencester.

“I really enjoyed testing. I was new to the battalion and didn’t know many people.

“Everybody just bonded together. We were in six man room staying in South Cerney so I got to know everyone and made really good mates. It really set me up for this exercise.”

This is Gareth’s first military exercise out of training.

“It is awesome to be here with the entire company and Warrior Fighting vehicles,” he added.

“My mum [Nia who works for Denbighshire County Council] has supported me through absolutely everything I have ever done. Without her I would be completely lost, that’s the real truth.

“I used to be a professional Motocross racer and I wanted a career which was equally rewarding and exciting.

“My uncle was in the Army and I knew it was a good career and the regiment have encouraged me to start the Royal Welsh Motocross team, so I am looking to combine both.”

Gareth was deployed with B (Rorke’s Drift Company) 1 Royal Welsh to the bespoke urban training centre, CENZUB (The Centre d’entrainement aux actions en zone urbaine), to carry out an annual bilateral exercise alongside French army partners and use the facilities.

On the exercise about 180 Service Personnel, formed mainly from B (Rorke’s Drift) Coy 1 Royal Welsh, but including attachments from across the army, came together as a company group to practice taking and holding urban areas, fighting in buildings to take control of Urban areas and then defending them.