May 29th 2014


Robert Musker and Clive Hickingbottom left home two weeks ago as civilians and returned home this weekend as soldiers in the British Army.

Trooper Robert Musker and Sapper Clive Hickingbottom marched off the parade square at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham on Friday, having completed their basic training.

Robert from Clifton has joined S (Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry) Squadron The Royal Yeomanry. The Squadron is based in Cavendish Drive, Carlton and meets every Wednesday night whilst Clive has joined 350 Field Squadron, 73 Engineer Regiment. The Squadron is based at Foresters House, Chilwell and meets every Tuesday night.

The two-week residential course completed by the pair will form the foundations of their military career. It has taught them everything they need to know to fulfil their role within the Army Reserve including military terminology, drill, shooting,  physical fitness, weapon handling, first aid, field craft and map reading.

In civilian life Robert, aged 23, is a Business student at Central College, Nottingham: “I’d thought about joining the regulars when I left school, but then I got offered a job as a plasterer and pushed back the idea.”

Also a qualified electrician Robert decided to go back to college last year before going onto university: “Being at college I had to think what I would do for money if I wasn’t working.  I asked at Job Seekers and they put me in touch with the Squadron. I went along for a chat..

“There was no pressure; I went to see what I thought. I didn’t have to commit there and then and I’ve been back every week since. There was no better time for me to join. I’d earn money at the same time and see if I enjoyed it.”

“The final exercise was the best part of the training,  it gave us the chance to see what it was like to live out in the field.  The Corporals that trained us were brilliant; they set the scene for us, it was spot on.”

Robert plans to study Fitness Management at University. “I’m into my fitness, so the physical side wasn’t too intensive. To be honest you are expected to have prepared before you start training. We did a four-mile run on the day we arrived.”

Sapper Clive Hickingbottom, aged 40, from Alfreton also harboured a desire to join the Army. A lorry driver for Warburtons he said: “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and changing jobs made it possible. I wanted to give it a go before I got too old. I just wanted something new and to gain some new skills.”

A long distance runner Clive keeps himself fit. He also regularly attends the gym. “Learning drill was the best bit. I also enjoyed the map reading and field work, but the drill when you get it right looks brilliant and it teaches good discipline.

“I was very nervous as we started marching onto the Square for our Pass Off.  But half way down the road I could see everyone and I relaxed.  I saw my family and friends and I thought ‘I’ve done it’. It’s something to be proud of.”

Clive’s wife Louise Jackson, mother-in-law Sue and sister-in-law Louise Sludds were there to see him Pass Off. “Initially I didn’t like the idea of him joining to be honest,” said Louise. “But I know what it means to him. It was brilliant to see him on parade achieving what he wanted to do and I completely accept it now.”

The Phase One course is delivered by 5 Training Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) whose instructors have been specially selected and trained for their role. Their main task is to lead recruits through their training and assist then with passing all aspects of the course.

The pair will now return to their units to complete their trade training.

For further information on Army Reserve Units in Nottingham visit the Army web at