BFBS – British Forces Broadcasting Services

The Services Sound and Vision Corporation is a registered charity set up to entertain and inform Britain’s Armed Forces around the world. Its mission: To be the preferred provider of entertainment and information to Service personnel and their families worldwide.

Our work makes a considerable contribution to the maintenance of the efficiency and morale of the three Services. Our activities are carried out directly for the Ministry of Defence. Any profits are donated towards Forces’ welfare. The activities carried out by SSVC are:

  • BFBS Radio
  • BFBS Television
  • Combined Services Entertainment
  • SSVC Retail
  • SSVC Forces Cinemas
  • British Defence Film Library

The first 72 days: Driver and crewman in Kabul

Sig Tonkinson is a Communications Logistic Specialist (CLS) currently stationed with 1st United Kingdom Armoured Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment (1 (UK) ADSR) based in Herford, Germany. She is deployed on Op HERRICK 15 where she is employed as both a driver and crewman as part of Souter Force Protection Transport Company (SFPTC), stationed at Camp Souter in Kabul.

For more information follow the link below,

Military Cut Backs

Throughout January to March there is going to be a large amount of cut backs throughout the Armed Forces. Each area of the Military will suffer great losses, as the Government make cuts in each area. The Armed Forces will lose 4,200 personnel in the biggest round of job losses in a decade.

Up to 2,900 members of the Army, 1,000 members of the Royal Air Force and 300 members of the Royal Navy will be sacked as the MOD tries to plug its £38 billion black hole in the defence budget.

One in six Air Commodores will lose their jobs in what some Air Force officers called a “night of the long knives” for commanders. The Forces are losing a large chunk of senior leadership with officers targeted across all three services as politicians expressed “deep concern” at the latest round of mass redundancies.

A third of the RAF redundancies will come from its leadership with 30 group captains, 40 wing commanders and 115 squadron leaders going. It is also understood that up to half-a-dozen of the 26 Air Vice Marshals will be axed. While no pilots will go the RAF losses will come from engineers, logistics, personnel and air traffic controllers.

With the Navy losing more than 50 per cent of its fleet in the last decade and going down to 30,000 personnel officers who commanded its warship are being dumped with five commodores and 15 captains sacked.

In addition to losing 400 Gurkha soldiers the Army has chosen to axe 500 infantry privates who have served for more than six years, the equivalent to an entire battalion. It will also lose 8 brigadiers and 60 lieutenant colonels, the rank at which officers command battalions.

While Royal Marines, who supply a third of special forces, are protected from cuts the commandos will lose 19 senior officers from the ranks of lieutenant colonel to brigadier.

One in eight Gurkhas will lose their jobs after the brigade expanded following a terms of service change that saw their contracts extend from 15 to 22 years.

The Unite union also warned that a further 2,500 MoD support staff such as vehicle fitters, electricians and plumbers could be axed as the Forces reduce.

What do you think of these Military Cut Backs?

Interview with Ex-army man

I sat down with an ex-army Colour Sergeant, who is now a manager of one of the world’s largest haulage contractors. He talks about how different and not so different his experiences were in the army, to the job he does now.

To listen to the experiences first hand please click on the podcast below.

If you have any comments, or would like to share your experiences and thoughts, we’d love you to get in touch.

Interview with Ex-army man

British Army Structure

The British Army consists of the General Staff, the Field Army and the Regional Forces, as well as joint elements that work with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

The Army carries out tasks given to it by the elected Government of the United Kingdom (UK).

Its main task is to help defend the interests of the UK, which consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This may involve service overseas as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation force. Soldiers may also be deployed on United Nations (UN) operations and used to help in other emergencies.

The regimental system

The increasing demands of imperial expansion together with inefficiencies highlighted during the Napoleonic Wars led to the Cardwell and Childers Reforms of the late 19th century. These gave the British Army its modern shape, and defined its regimental system. The Haldane Reforms of 1907, formally created the Territorial Force which still exists as the Army’s volunteer component.

Command structure

The command structure is hierarchical with divisions and brigades responsible for organising groupings of smaller units. Major Units are regiment or battalion-sized with minor units being smaller, either company sized sub-units or platoons. All units within the service are either Regular (full-time) or Territorial Army (part-time), or a combination with sub-units of each type.

Naming conventions

Unit names are different for historical reasons. An infantry regiment is an administrative and ceremonial organisation only and may include several battalions. An infantry battalion is equivalent to a cavalry regiment.  For operational tasks a battle group will be formed around a combat unit, supported by units or sub-units from other areas. Such an example would be a squadron of tanks attached to an armoured infantry battle group, together with a reconnaissance troop, artillery battery and engineering support.

Were you in the army, which regiment?

Soldiers speak out about the war

“With unprecedented access to Britain’s armed forces, this series “Fighting on the Frontline” allows troops to reveal the inside story of what it’s really like fighting on a tour of duty in Afghanistan today”.

For over a decade the soldiers in Afghanistan have kept their views about the war to themselves, but now they speak out about their experiences on the front line. Three, one hour long episodes of a documentary called “Fighting on the Frontline”, shows in graphic detail some of the UN’s missions in Afghanistan, and follows the troops on these missions. It’s based on the experiences of a few of Britain’s fighting men, often nicknamed bullet-catchers and their feelings on why and what they are fighting for. It also focuses on the fears of each soldier, which is not just dying, but the fears of the IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices). This is not the first documentary on the war, (Ross Kemp: In Afghanistan) but it is the first based on the feeling’s of the soldiers on the front line.

What are your views about what these brave men and women are going through!!

One of the most seriously injured soldiers to survive the war in Afghanistan is facing discharge from the Army

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson’s family fear it means his rehabilitation will be brought to a halt – and hundreds of other injured servicemen face a similar fate.

The 27-year-old suffered brain damage, lost both his legs and broke his back when his Land Rover was caught in the blast of a Taliban bomb in 2006.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) pledges to fund wounded soldiers’ rehabilitation until completion.

But LBdr Parkinson has received a letter from the Army Medical Services Board, saying they are recommending he is medically discharged.

What progress (injured soldiers) have made as a result of military assistance is in danger of being lost or even reversed.

Diane Dernie, Ben Parkinson’s mother

And his mother Diane Dernie told Sky News he had also learned his compensation would be capped at £570,000 – despite the MoD saying it should be in excess of £1m.

“For Ben, the killer is that he sees his future in the Army,” she said.

“He was a soldier since he was 16 and it’s very, very difficult for Ben to move on.”

LBdr Parkinson, who served with 7 Para, Royal Horse Artillery, sustained a total of 37 injuries in the explosion. He has had a gruelling 37-hour-a-week recovery programme involving gym work, speech therapy and physiotherapy.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson

Ben Parkinson has undergone five years of gruelling rehabilitation

The Para’s injuries included punctured lungs, while both his legs were amputated above the knee.

His mother said: “We understand the Army’s position that they could never have expected the number of seriously injured that they have, but they did make promises that they would be in the Army until their rehab was complete.

“The problem is, who decides when that point is? Ben’s rehab is very far from complete, he’s got a lot more to achieve.

“For Ben it was a double whammy, because two days after he received the news that he was to be medically discharged, he also received news that his compensation was to be capped.

Fallen Heroes

“So he lost the wherewithal to pay for his own rehab and looked as if he was going to have his financed rehab taken away from him. It’s totally unfair to expect the NHS to deal with these kinds of injuries.”

Mrs Dernie said she believed many more soldiers were facing similar difficulties.

“They have been promised that the NHS will look after them but the NHS is simply not equipped to deal with them,” she said.

“What progress they have made as a result of military assistance is in danger of being lost or even reversed.”

The MoD said: “We do not comment on individual cases.

“However, every case is assessed individually and no-one will leave the Army until they have reached a point in their recovery where it is right for them to leave, however long that takes.”

Military Reservists Proudly Wear Their Uniforms to Work

Members of the Reserve Forces are today swapping their civilian clothes for military uniforms to celebrate ‘Wear Your Uniform To Work Day’, which highlights the crucial role played by Reservists in our country’s Armed Forces. There are some 38,000 Reservists in the UK Armed Forces and they have been deployed around 24,000 times since 2003 on operations around the globe, including Afghanistan and in support of the NATO mission in Libya.

Uniform to Work Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the role of the Reserves and to remind the public the Armed Forces are made up of people from all sections of the community, from office workers to taxi drivers.

Three London-based Reservists shown here cycling to work are Able Seaman Richie Wilkinson (Royal Navy Reserve) a Studio Manager for ITV who also serves as a Communication Warfare Technician at HMS President, Lance Corporal Mark Herbage (Territorial army) who is employed by the Royal British Legion in addition to being a Signaller in the Honourable Artillery Company and Flight Lieutenant James Morris (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) a Civil Servant working in the Department for International Development and a Royal Air Force Police Officer at No.3 Police Squadron, RAF Henlow.

Service Chiefs of Staff lent their support to Uniform to Work Day by joining Reservists who were wearing their uniform to work and hopping on public transport to the Ministry of Defence.

Army Chief General Sir Peter Wall met Lance Corporal Vergottini, a tube driver on the Northern Line. LCpl Vergottini spent six months in Afghanistan last year as part of the Counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) Task Force, providing infantry support for the specialist C-IED operators. LCpl Vergottini said:

“I’m proud of being part of the TA and all that I’ve achieved there and today is an opportunity for me to show the public that, behind my usual work clothes, I also serve my country. I completed a tour of Afghanistan last year, but most of the time I look like any other civilian. The support we get from the public and our employers on Uniform to Work Day is a huge boost to morale for me and my fellow TA soldiers.”

Forces Redundancy

The Army and the Royal Navy today released the details of their redundancy programme to their personnel. The specific trades and branches of each service which are affected by the first tranche of the redundancy programme, along with the numbers being sought from each area have been announced.

In October, following the SDSR the MOD announced that it would be reducing the number of military personnel by 17,000 across all three services; 7,000 from the Army, 5,000 from the Royal Navy and 5,000 from the RAF. While some of these reductions will be achieved through a decrease in recruiting and not replacing those who leave, there will still need to be around 11,000 redundancies. Each service will run a number of redundancy tranches over the next four years with reductions planned to be fully achieved by April 2015.

Although this is a compulsory programme, volunteers will be sought.

The Army has identified 150 redundancy fields by looking at where the Army is in surplus now and where it will still be in surplus in 2015. For this first tranche, there will be approximately 1,000 redundancies, half of which are expected to be volunteers. About 25% of those being made redundant in this tranche will be officers, but no one with less than 8 years experience will be made redundant.

The first tranche of redundancies for the Royal Navy will result in a total of around 1600 redundancies from across a variety of the Naval Service’s specialisations and branches, and will include ratings and officers up to the rank of Captain. Those selected will be Officers from the Engineering, Medical, Warfare and Logistics Branches as well as Junior Ratings and Senior Ratings from a variety of Branches.