March 8th 2022

Four Reservists in the spotlight for International Women’s Day

Four women in camouflage.

The soldiers, who are part of Rutland-based 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, speak with pride when talking about their role and hope to encourage other women to consider joining the Army as a Reservist.

1st Military Working Dog Regiment (1MWD Regt) is a hybrid unit of both Regulars and Reserves. Its 350 personnel provide the only deployable military working dog and veterinary capability within the whole of the British Army. The Regiment’s Reserve Squadron, 101 Military Working Dog Squadron, was formed in 2015. Reservists joining the Squadron are trained as Protection Military Working Dog Handlers who look after the security and safety of military assets and bases.

Women can serve in every trade in the Army including doctors, dentists, vets, lawyers, and engineers. They can also fly helicopters or fight on the ground as infantry.

Private Kate Seymour:

Private Kate Seymour (29) is an engineer in civilian life and joined 1MWD Regt six-years ago. The Regiment is made up of four Regular squadrons and one Reserve squadron.

Kate said: “I love being in the Army Reserve because it continually pushes me outside my comfort zone. I’ve gained so many skills, made loads of friends and it’s really enjoyable.”

Kate may not have a dog as a pet, but she does have a Royal Python snake called Walter and a cat. Kate said: “I love dogs, but I’ve never had one as a pet because I’m not at home enough to look after it properly.”

“I’ve never had any issues with being a woman in the Army.” – Private Kate Seymour

“I’ve gained confidence as the Army encourages you to step out of your shell and push yourself. I used to be very quiet and still am, but the Army has helped me to feel more self-assured in voicing my opinions or taking charge of different elements of work. I’m now more comfortable when joining groups of people I don’t know.”

“I’ve never had any issues with being a woman in the Army. Not long after I joined all the jobs were opened to women. There are a wide variety of people in the Squadron, and we probably would never have met each other in day-to-day life. I’ve made some lifelong friends here and they are people I wouldn’t have known if we weren’t in the Reserves.”

Private Erin Pepper:

Private Erin Pepper (27) transferred into 1MWD Regt from the University Officer Training Corps (UOTC). “I saw a dog demonstration whilst in the UOTC and just wanted to do it,” she said.

Four women in camouflage.

Women can serve in every trade in the Army.

“I considered joining the Regular Army but was going travelling after finishing university. I didn’t want to lose my Army number, so decided to transfer into the Reserves. Whilst I’ve been in the Reserves, I realised I have the best of both worlds”.

“If I can do it, anyone can. I’m nothing special – just a normal girl from Liverpool. I think being in the Reserves is one of the best things you can do. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and you get to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. A lot of what we do is unique, and we get paid to do it. I love it.”

Lance Corporal Keely Judge:

Lance Corporal Keely Judge (30) works at a Postal Depot for Border Force and joined 1MWD Regt in 2015. She said: “I joined because I regretted not joining the Army when I was younger. You learn a lot of skills in the Reserves that can be transferred into your civilian life. And at the end of the day if you love dogs, it’s a great job to come and do. I love all of it. I like pushing myself and it’s so different from my day job which is indoors.”

“I hope that by hearing about women who have a second career as a Reservist, doing something that they love, that more women will consider the Reserves. We are all treated the same and there is also a good balance of men and women in our squadron.”

Private Amber Kelly:

Private Amber Kelly (26) is a scientist working in antibiotic research during the week. She joined the Reserves three years ago when her friend, an ex-regular with 1MWD Regt, put her in touch with the Unit.

She said: “Whilst I am settled in my career, I’d always been interested in the Army and wanted to see what it was like, especially the military working dogs because I did my degree in animal behaviour”.

“I’ve never looked back. The Regiment encourages all its soldiers, male or female, to seek out challenges and to go for the opportunities they want. Respect is shown to all regardless of sex and I think any person, male or female can benefit from the training.”

Find out more about joining the Reserve Forces.