Lieutenant Colonel, Charlie Grist, Commanding Officer 1 RIFLES, and Captain Gareth Crossley, visited St John’s on-the-Hill School on Wednesday 22nd February to give a special assembly on the important role that the army plays in keeping Britain secure.

Lieutenant Colonel, Charlie Grist, explained how soldiers from Beachley Barracks, near Chepstow, have been deployed in Iraq since August 2015, where they have been training the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces to fight and defeat the Da’esh, commonly known as ISIS.

Lieutenant Colonel, Charlie Grist, said: “We have been part of an international coalition working with many other countries to train around 30,000 Iraqis. We have been training them to be better soldiers, to dispose of bombs, get past obstacles and build bridges. These Iraqi soldiers are winning back their country, which is great.”

He also spoke about careers in the army. He said: “The army is a great place to work and there are many different types of jobs that are open to men and women. I have visited more than 20 countries during my career and faced lots of challenges from climbing mountains to skiing in the French Alps.”

David Griffiths, Deputy Head Academic at St John’s on-the-Hill School, thanked Lieutenant Colonel, Charlie Grist, for his inspirational talk and encouraged the children to ask questions. David Griffiths said: “We are very fortunate to be able to hear such motivational stories from importantrole models and are grateful to them for sharing their experiences with us.”

Alistair Fletcher, Head Boy at St John’s on-the-Hill,finished the assembly with A Soldier’s Prayer for Courage.