Fall in for military centenary

Otterburn TRaining Camp 100th anniversary.'Max Kemp tries out a tank with a bit of help from CFN Michael Blain.
Otterburn TRaining Camp 100th anniversary.'Max Kemp tries out a tank with a bit of help from CFN Michael Blain.

A MILITARY training ground celebrated its centenary last week.

Pupils from Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School in rothbury were among those invited to find out more about Otterburn’s training area as it marked its 100th birthday.

Otterburn TRaining Camp 100th anniversary.'Major Bertie Sexton tries his hand at a missile launch video game  with some of the youngsters who attended the event.

Otterburn TRaining Camp 100th anniversary.'Major Bertie Sexton tries his hand at a missile launch video game with some of the youngsters who attended the event.

A host of activities were on offer to demonstrate to the youngsters, and other guests, the range of facilities on offer.

A guard dog display, paint balling, rally racing and a firing simulator were some of the events on display.

Lieutenant Colonel Niall MacGregor-Smith, group commander of the camp, said: “In 1911 Winston Churchill came to shoot in north Northumberland. It went very well and he said the place was only good to be an army range.

“As a result the then war office purchased land from the Redesdale Estate and shortly afterwards established a camp at Redesdale.

Otterburn TRaining Camp 100th anniversary.'Security guard Michael King and his dog Resie impressed pupils from Thomlinson Middle School.

Otterburn TRaining Camp 100th anniversary.'Security guard Michael King and his dog Resie impressed pupils from Thomlinson Middle School.

“The place was used initially as an artillery range and has developed into the primary artillery range in the UK.

“During the Second World War, the range was expanded to take in the area around Otterburn village and now comprises 38 acres of north Northumberland.

“The event is to mark the 100th anniversary year. We don’t know the exact date but we thought we would wish to take mark that centenary by holding an event of some sort.

“The aim is two-fold. Firstly to say thank you to friends and supporters of the training area and secondly to show local schools what we do here.

“The children are our future and it is the role of defence to ensure that the Armed Forces provide a facility for our children to grow up and learn from.”

People from all over the country as well as foreign forces go to Otterburn to train and at the busiest time around 4,000 soldiers are at the camp.

Nine-year-old Max Kemp, who got the opportunity to sit inside a tank said: “It’s been a really good day. It was interesting and the best thing was the big guns.”