Assisting the NHS: CSgt Nick Barber

As part of the Military’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak, personnel have been delivering personal protection equipment (PPE) to all NHS hospitals, learning to drive oxygen tanks and also in the medevac of critically ill patients from remote communities

We hear from Colour Sergeant Nick Barber from the 1st Battalion of Duke of Lancaster Regiment about his experience of learning the necessary skills needed to drive vehicles that deliver vital oxygen and other supplies to the NHS if drivers are unavailable.

This is what Nick had to say 👇

CSgt Nick Barber.

‘My name is Colour Sergeant Nick Barber and I’m from the 1st Battalion of Duke of Lancaster Regiment. My day job in my unit is usually to be the Unit welfare second in command.

‘Due to the driving licences that I hold, I was asked to attend the Air Product Centre at Carrington, near Manchester, where we are learning to supply and deliver oxygen to the NHS should we need to.

‘As part of the Multi-Agency Civilian Authority, we are going to be learning and training alongside the air products delivery drivers who provide the oxygen to the NHS on a daily basis.’

Did you know: Colour Sergeant is a senior role in the British Army where you rely on both your resource and man management skills. As a Colour Sergeant, you may command a troop or platoon as well as being responsible for up to 120 soldiers.

‘If there are no drivers available at the Air Product Centre then we have the ability, the skills and the training to be able to conduct that job role for them.

We will be trained, confident and ready to go by the end of the week.

‘The tasks that we’ve been given is to take control of the vehicles that are generally used to deliver oxygen to the NHS. We are learning all our basic skills all over again from reversing the vehicle to supplying the vehicle and delivering oxygen into storage tanks within the NHS areas.

‘This is part of the planning process and the contingency for if there aren’t any drivers available to deliver the essential supplies. We are getting ready to step into their shoes, into the vehicle and take the stock to where it is required — primarily into the NHS areas.

‘Once this training is complete at the end of the week, we will be on standby to be able to move forwards and deliver the essential supplies should we need to.’

Read more about the UK Armed Forces response to the Coronavirus crisis:

Find out where the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store