THE Army’s final oath ceremony in South Tyneside has taken place.
Thirteen new recruits, aged between 16 and 24 years old, became the last soldiers in the borough to swear the oath of allegiance to serve Queen and country.
This is because the Army recruiting office in Fowler Street, South Shields, is closing its doors in February.
After that, anyone wishing to join the Army will have to travel either to Newcastle or Sunderland, where the swearing of the oath will also take place.
Colour Sergeant Jim Ayton said: “It was our final oath ceremony to be held in South Tyneside and everyone really enjoyed it.
“We had great support from the Royal British Legion and from the soldiers’ families. It is just a shame that this was the final one to be held in South Tyneside.”
The service, held at the Royal British Legion in Queen Street, South Shields, was led by Major Dave Wilson, MBE.
Proud parents and relatives watched the new recruits take the final step before heading to barracks around the United Kingdom where they will carry out the next phase of their training.
Already the group has undergone and passed a series of rigorous tests to prove they have what it takes to join the Army.
Once the festive season has passed, the new soldiers will head off to their respective training camps.
Next month, Robert Purvis, 20, and Loren Brown, 17, will join the Royal Logistics Corps in Pirbright, Surrey.
Aaron Donnelly, 17, will also head to Pirbright where he will join the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).
George Holden, 19, Karl Higgins, 18, and Paul Crookes, 23, will go to Catterick to join The Rifles.
In February, 18-year-olds Jonathon Lowes and Gary Harding will move to Pirbright to join the REME, while Jordan Damms, 17, and Christopher English, 24, will go to Catterick to join The Rifles.
The following month Daniel Yorston, 16, and Kieran Catlin, 16, will head to Harrogate to join The Rifles, and Robert Averre, 22, will head to Catterick, also to join The Rifles.