Catterick Garrison soldiers continue to tackle Saddleworth Moor fire

Catterick based soldiers have spent the last week working with firefighters to tackle a vast moorland fire on Saddleworth Moor in Greater Manchester.

100 soldiers from A Company, 4th Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4SCOTS) deployed to the moor last Thursday from the garrison.

Saddleworth Moor is a vast area of the Peak District National Park located in the Pennines.

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Working alongside firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service the soldiers have been assisting the effort to reduce and control the fire, undertaking tasks including fire beating, digging trenches, moving the water lines and providing general support where required.

Lance Corporal Adam Shepherd said: “The firefighters have done a tremendous job and we have been able to take some of the load off them.

“From day one when I came out on the ground, we have had great chat with the guys. The fire service doesn’t just put out fires, they deal with a lot more other stuff, so if we can be here and take the load off them then that’s an absolute great job.”

Highlander Conor Coupar added: “You can’t have every single fireman working in Manchester all in one place.  There’s going to be fires everywhere else, whether it’s a house fire or something else, so they are going to need the extra help and I’m glad to do it to be honest.”

As the heatwave continues, the soldiers and the firefighters continue to work in the heat of the day.

Meanwhile the Salvation Army, local community and local businesses have rallied around to provide food and drink to the soldiers and the fire fighters.

Highlander William Craib said: “We are all pulling together and the Salvation Army deserve a special mention for coming out to supply free drinks and food.

“We’ve also had an ice cream van giving free ice-cream and slush puppies. That was a blessing in disguise. It was like angels coming over the hill.”

He continued: “We’ve been doing all sorts. It’s very difficult terrain in places and the heat of the sun combined with the heat on the ground doesn’t help.

“The firefighters are great. They’ve given us solid briefings and they take the lead on the ground. We’re working alongside them fire beating and digging fire break trenches. We’ve also been using water packs to spray and damp down the ground as much as we can.

Highlander William Craib concluded: “It’s been hard but we’ve got plenty of water and we are working on rotation. We are working two hour shifts which is enough in this heat. We’re doing pretty much anything we can to help the firefighters here.”

Officer Commanding A Company, Major Philip Morgan, said: “The soldiers have done an exceptional job and I am very proud of them. We are working arm-in-arm with the fire service and our soldiers have stepped up to the mark and absolutely delivered.”

He continued: “To see the public support, the donations that are given and the plaudits we get from the fire service saying how energetic, motivated and enthusiastic the soldiers all are is just fantastic.”