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As the helmet sponsor for the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team – The White Helmets, earlier this month on 20th April Davida accepted an invitation to the 2013 opening show, and entered for the first time into the world of the British Army at the Royal Signals Blanford Forum Camp. Once passed the officious security gate, formality remained the order of the day. The show programme, presented to the Corps Colonel, kicked off at 9.30am with coffee in the Officers Mess, followed by performances by the White Helmet Motorcycle Display Team and presentation of the new team members with their ‘White Helmets, all punctuated by the various Military Bands of the Royal Signals marching around the square..
Immediately struck by the quality of the uniforms, decorum of the soliders and their ability to execute the formal ceremony to the level of an art form, I quickly became fascinated by the amount of adornment one can actually attach to a uniform; the sheer level of haberdashery, leather and shiny metal strapped, pinned and wrapped around a body, top to toe, not a blemish in sight. Carrying a B+W photo of my father in the Royals Corps in 1951 -52, it was the comment of most ‘ wow now that’s a uniform ‘.
Unaware of how hard it is to get into the team, I had completely under estimated the value and pride attached to the presentation of the White Helmet by the Crops Colonel to the new team members. Although any solider in the Royal Signals can apply to be part of the team it takes a certain character to be able to survive the grueling 2 week selection process held every year in October. Bob Brannigan, a former White Helmet explains.” Those who’ve never ridden before are taking their CBT on the first afternoon, and those who have ridden before are taken away to be untaught everything they’ve previously learnt. By the end of the 2 weeks they are jumping through hoops of fire on the Triumph. Those who pass the initial selection process return to normal solider duties until mid Jan when they come back to camp and start the 3 month training process leading up to this opening show where, if they survived the process, they are presented with their ‘White Helmet’. It’s an exclusive club that adopted the ‘White Helmet’ title in 1963 , so with only a handful of new members making the team each year there can only be 300 or so official members of the White Helmets.
I leave with a vision of a soliders manicured uniforms and kit carefully arranged at the end of their bed but now with the new addition the their hard earned and much loved Davida ”White Helmet’. Equal in quality and respect.