Last year they were TV’s Raw Recruits, but what’s happened since the cameras were turned off?
The last 18 months have been something of a whirlwind for Private Molly Mckinlay, 18, from Birmingham, and Private Laura O’Donnell, 18, from Fife. The pair were part of Channel 5’s Raw Recruits: Squaddies At 16 TV series, which showed what happened to a batch of new soldiers during training. But once the film crew packed up, and TV viewers switched off, the new recruits’ army careers continued. One year on, we caught up with Raw Recruits Molly and Laura to find out what they’re up to now.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT FOR THE RAW RECRUITS?
Molly: From September to February, I went to Whittington, Lichfield, and did my trade course as a combat medic. Now, I’m based in 1Med (One Medical Regiment) in Paderborn, Germany. I’ve been here since March and it’s a really good experience being away from home.
Laura: I went through my next phase of training at Deepcut where I learned my trade, which is supplying. I also learned how to drive there and I’m now a supplier in the Royal Logistic Corps based in Leuchars, Fife.
L: I’m based ten miles from my house – some nights I go home for my dinner, and I spend most weekends at home. M: I’ve been home quite a bit since I’ve been in Germany because I play football for the Army Medical Service team.
L: I’ve not done any Adventurous Training yet but I’ll hopefully be going sailing next month, which will be a trip from Gosport to Gran Canaria.
M: When the new football season starts, I’m going to have an opportunity to go to America with the AMS team.
M: The beginning was hardest because you’re going into a whole different world and changing from being a civilian to a soldier. Doing my medical assessment was so nervewracking. I had to treat a casualty in front of instructors, which was mental!
L: I had to do an 8-mile march while carrying 15kg before leaving Deepcut, which was quite hard as you have to do it within two hours. At the beginning homesickness was also hard but everyone goes through that together.
L: Passing all my driving tests. I got them before all my friends at home; I can now drive an articulated lorry and they can’t. When I found out I was being posted back to Fife, I was so excited. I remember phoning my mum and she started crying down the phone because she was so happy. I’ve also gained good friends. I still keep in touch with the people from my first block of training – we’re all on a Facebook group chat.
M: Meeting the people that you know you’re going to know forever. In the Army you do so much together, and you’re like one big family, so you know that your friends are going to stick by you.