A CWMBRAN soldier has been using his 27 years of military experience to train up the next crop of reservists.

With the Territorial Army boosting its numbers from 20,000 to 30,000, Captain Richard Smith is in north east Italy helping members of 3rd Battalion the Royal Welsh (volunteers) meet the required grade.

Cpt Smith, 44, of Oakfield has completed tours of Afghanistan , Kosovo, the Balkans and Northern Ireland and is now involved with Exercise Roman Star Two – an exercise with the Italian army that creates warfare scenarios and tests the fieldcraft, fitness and attacking ability of soldiers.

He is married to Kim and has two children Natasha, 22 and Matthew, 19.

He called the Italian experience “a great opportunity”, with reservists based at Gemona del Friuli, training in a flat dried-up river bed.

He said: “They get to train in an environment that tests all their basic skills.

“It’s about sharpening their field craft, fitness and fighting ability.”

The new training exercise follows the government’s announcement on troop reductions and a greater reliance on reserve soldiers to integrate with the regular Army.