James-Harry Pink

Ordnance Munitions Explosives Technician

James-Harry's job title is Ammunition Technician in the British Army

What I do

I’m a subject matter expert in ammunition and deal with the inspections, storage, safety and disposal of all in-service ammunition. I supervise guided weapons fire and am the safety expert – if it goes wrong, I must safely dispose of it (explosively).

I also check sites across the UK to make sure they are suitable for ammunition and explosives before exercises take place. My main base is at Ashchurch in Tewkesbury where I live in barracks. I am originally from Luton and go home at weekends when we have time to relax.

How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

My favourite piece of equipment to use

Detonator crimpers. They are a basic piece of equipment, they are a bit like a pair of scissors with a half a circle cut out the end of each tip. They’re only used when doing demolitions using a match. This match will light a safety fuse then the fuse will initiate the detonator. This is where the detonator crimpers come in, you need to attach the fuse to the detonator by crimping the end of the detonator to the end of the safety fuse.

The outcome is you’ve created an explosive chain by using a funny looking pair of scissors, it’s satisfying when you get it right. Accuracy is essential – you can’t squeeze the crimpers too loose, or the safety fuse could fall out when burning. You must make sure to squeeze on the correct end of the detonator or else it could function in your hand.

A little more about
my everyday role

What I love most about my job

The travel opportunities without a doubt. I’m often travelling, I like driving up to Castlemartin in Wales to inspect ammunition, making sure it’s safe to travel on the road. Sometimes it’s further afield, I’m hoping to go to Germany and Arizona this year. In Arizona, there are around 500kgs of explosives which needs to be disposed of safely and in Germany I need to make sure some ammunition is safe to travel back to the UK.

The best bits about working in a team

I work in a team of 20 people, each with different ranks in our troop from Lance Corporal to Captain. When we are going to inspect ammunition or are supervising guided missile firing, we need a team of two. I’m a Lance Corporal so I go with a Sergeant (or above) and I’m there to learn and build up my skills.

I love the humour of being part of a team. We do a lot of long drives, so you need to be able to have a chat and a laugh. Once you get to the task, if you’re worried about something while you are working (it is ammunition so it can be dangerous) you can ask another member of the team. It’s best to just talk to people as we are all there to help each other out.

The skills I use in my job

Good English and maths are vital. You need to be able to write formal emails and organise your own trips and arrangements. We use maths all the time, I did an ammunition inspection the other week and I had to count 7,285 rounds and you can’t miscount one otherwise you will have to recount them all again.

The most exciting thing I’ve achieved so far in my job

Winning the Best Practical Award on my course. That made me proud, I won out of 20 people on the course.

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