SEVEN young men have proven they are best of the best after battling vigorous testing for a place in the British Army.
Mark French, Matthew Dorward, Andrew Garnett, Jake Keep, Daniel Kirby, Kyle Thompson and Conor Brewis have become the latest to swear an oath of allegiance to serve Queen and country.
The ceremony was the final chapter the group had to undertake before heading to various barracks around the UK, where they will carry out their phase two training.
The group was joined by family and friends as well as armed forces veterans.
Kyle Thompson, 19, from Houghton, is preparing to start training in Catterick with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
“I had never really thought about joining the army until I started talking to someone through a friend of a friend.
“He was telling me everything he had done and where he had been and he was only 19.
“I tried the army before but left just before my training finished as I thought it wasn’t for me. As soon as I came out, I wanted to go back, which is why I went for it again.
“I was a bit more nervous this time and I am determined to finish my training this time.”
Already, the soldiers have battled their way through a series of testing and selection processes to make it to be accepted into the army.
Major Dave Wilson, who led the oath ceremony, said: “Out of the 1,200 applicants we have had through the doors, so far, we have only accepted about 100.
“To see the calibre here today, you have earned your right to take your place next to us.”
Conor Brewis and Jake Keep, both 17, will now leave Sunderland for Winchester where they will train to become Royal Engineers.
Dorward, 17 will also go to Winchester to join the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
Andrew Garnett, 17, and Daniel Kirby, 19, will go to Catterick to join the rifles while Mark French, 17, will leave for Pirbright to train with the Royal Logistic Corps.
The ceremony took place at the Royal British Legion, in Queen Street, South Shields,
Secretary Bob Wilson, who served with the Royal Marines, said: “As a club we are really proud to host the ceremony here.
“These young men are all individuals but they will also work as a team.
“My best advice to them is to enjoy every moment of it. Training will be hard but being in the forces is a fantastic experience.
“I feel proud they have chosen the club to hold this ceremony and I wish the new soldiers the best of luck in their training and their careers.”