Borders trio earn an early stripe just six months after enlisting

Lance Corporal Gregor Harold, Selkirk.
Lance Corporal Gregor Harold, Selkirk.

THE Borders has long been renowned for the calibre of young people it has sent to the army.

And that proud record was maintained last month when three of the five youngsters who ‘took the king’s shilling’ in January were promoted.

Gregor Harold from Selkirk, Robbie Shields of Hawick and Gordon Hay of Galashiels were the three tyros to receive their first stripe as junior lance corporals.

The trio are half-way through their first year at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, which they joined after successfully completing Borders College’s ‘preparation for the army’ course.

Each of the foundation college’s sections of 12 soldiers had one of its number promoted to junior lance corporals – 20 in total, which equated to eight per cent of the January intake.

But for three of the five Borders soldiers to be promoted – 60 per cent of their number – is a considerable achievement, particularly when the equivalent Aberdeen course produced no promotions.

Gregor’s mum, Alison, was delighted with the news.

“It’s an amazing achievement from local brave and hard-working teenagers.” she told us.

Gregor, 17, said he and his fellow Borders soldiers were delighted with the result of the recent batch of promotions.

“We were all really pleased to have been promoted,” he explained. “I knew I was up for promotion, but didn’t think I would get it this time round.” Gregor, who is hoping to join the Royal Scots Borderers battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS) on completion of his foundation college year in January, explained that to qualify for consideration for promotion, a candidate had to show numerous qualities, including strong leadership.

“Promotion brings a lot more responsibility and hard work, but I’m ready for that,” said Gregor, a former pupil of Selkirk High School, who had wanted to join the army since the age of 14.