A JUNIOR soldier from Ebbw Vale was among 500 others who took part in Europe’s largest military graduation parade earlier this month.

Callum Williams recently graduated from the Army Foundation College (AFC) in Harrogate and joined teenagers from all over the country taking part in the parade at Uniacke Barracks on Thursday, August 14, after completing their training to become junior soldiers for various regiments of the British Army.

The soldiers will now begin the next part of their specialist training, where they will learn how to do their jobs at home and on operations.

Each year, the prestigious AFC Harrogate takes in 1,350 school-leavers who are given the opportunity to learn military skills, gain essential qualifications and develop as a person, while at the same time getting paid throughout their training.

Nearly 4,000 relatives and friends turned out to watch as the new soldiers passed out, in a parade which is the second largest for the British Army, beaten in size only by the Trooping of the Colour. Each junior soldier rehearses for about 20 hours in preparation for the graduation parade.

The soldiers have all completed training which combines military skills with education in key subjects such as numeracy and literacy, as well adventure training and sports, culminating in a 30-hour patrol across the Yorkshire Dales.

Private Williams, who will begin the next part of his training at Larkhill in Wiltshire, said: “I’m glad I’ve had so much support from my family and friends, it’s really helped me achieve what I have. At times, training pushed me to the limits of my physical and mental strength, but I was determined to succeed and further my career.”