JOINING UP

Richard Batty had spent four and a half years with a high street firm and he was fed up.

“I had been working pretty hard, driving many miles and generally beginning to feel the stresses of dealing with other people's problems.”

After spotting an advert for Army Legal Services and making a tentative call he found himself thrust into unchartered territory. Following an interview, he was invited to the selection board which was staged over two and a half days at Worthy Down.

“I had no idea what the army was looking for so I was able to act my normal self and was also able to enjoy it.”

It clearly paid off. Batty was selected and subsequently sent on an induction course.

“We had to tackle the vast subject of military law. Two days were spent with the Royal Military Police, collecting kit and learning some absolute basics to prepare for the four-week Professionally Qualified Officers course at Sandhurst.”

Orienteering, swimming, weapons tests, assault courses, signals and platoon attacks – the course was clearly a far cry from the drudgery of the magistrates courts.

Next stop for Capt Batty was Cyprus, and a three-month attachment with the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters.

“My first posting to Aldershot (after the attachment) seemed a bit of a let-down at first,” he says.

But Batty soon found himself in the thick of things, working within a busy prosecuting office. The tables turned when he was then posted to Germany to do general legal aid and defence work – which included advising suspects at Royal Military Police interviews.

But not before he had squeezed in a week's adventurous sail training, and only after his colonel at Aldershot had volunteered him for an ice-climb and cross-country ski-ing in Scotland.