A former St Ives army cadet has been honoured with two awards after coming top out of 240 junior soldiers during his first stages of training in Harrogate.

Junior CSM Ollie Read parading at the Army Foundation College and receiving his award for Best Overall Recruit. Pictures: The Army Foundation College.Junior CSM Ollie Read parading at the Army Foundation College and receiving his award for Best Overall Recruit. Pictures: The Army Foundation College.

Junior CSM Ollie Read, 17, spent three years as a cadet with 2 Company Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force at St Ives and Slepe Detachments.

He has been awarded the position of Best Overall Recruit and title of Junior Company Sergeant Major after completing phase one of his training at The Army Foundation College.

As a cadet, Ollie achieved the rank of Cadet Sgt Major and convinced his detachment commander that he was destined for a career in the army.

Sergeant Instructor Chris Parker said: “Straight away it was very clear that Ollie had big aspirations to join The British Army.

Junior CSM Ollie Read parading at the Army Foundation College and receiving his award for Best Overall Recruit. Pictures: The Army Foundation College.Junior CSM Ollie Read parading at the Army Foundation College and receiving his award for Best Overall Recruit. Pictures: The Army Foundation College.

“It was evident that’s where he wanted to go, and that it was his dream.

“Seeing how Ollie carried himself at the detachment, at company training events, and in the combat cadet team, I knew he would do well in the army.” The Army Foundation College enables 16 and 17-years olds to become Junior Soldiers and begin their army training by completing The Common Military Syllabus.

Ollie joined the college in September of last year, and undertook the 45 weeks of initial phase one training.

The course ended slightly earlier than usual due to the coronavirus, and for two months recruits studied from home and were taught via videolink, before returning to the college in early June.

Junior CSM Ollie Read parading at the Army Foundation College and receiving his award for Best Overall Recruit. Pictures: The Army Foundation College.Junior CSM Ollie Read parading at the Army Foundation College and receiving his award for Best Overall Recruit. Pictures: The Army Foundation College.

He found his cadet experience extremely useful, and it straight away helped to set him apart from most of the other soldiers, enabling him to demonstrate his skills at drill, fieldcraft, weapons handling and leadership..

Ollie said: “I’m really excited and looking forward to what my career will hold in the army.

“I’ve got overseas deployments in the pipeline that will give me many good opportunities and experiences.”

S.I. Parker added: “Seeing Ollie not only complete the phase one training but ‘smashing it’, and being awarded best overall recruit, was a very proud moment for the detachment and the company.”

Ollie will return to training in a few weeks at Catterick, where he will undergo phase two specialist infantry training to fully equip him with the skills needed to join The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Text by PI Stuart with thanks to SI Parker and Junior CSM Read