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Military Bands: Training

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in what circumstances bandsmen are being trained with live ammunition for active front-line service. (203333)

Musicians of the Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force receive the same initial training as any other recruit joining their respective Service. Part of this initial training package will cover weapon handling and shooting; including the firing of live ammunition. These skills are reinforced periodically through mandatory training and testing.

Service personnel, including musicians, receive theatre-specific training prior to deployment on operations. This training includes live firing and weapon handling elements. All Service musicians deploying on operations will be issued with a personal weapon. Most will deploy in medical support roles, where the need to provide armed protection of themselves and casualties may arise.