THE realities of war are being brought to life for raw recruits at Britain's biggest military base.

A pioneering new Infantry Heritage Centre has been opened at Vimy Barracks, Catterick Garrison, home to the Army's Infantry Training Centre.

The centre was set up by the Commandant of the School of Infantry, Brigadier David Clements and was opened by the Commanderin- Chief Land Command, General Sir David Richards.

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It has been designed to provide a suitable stage at the ITC to teach the meaning of the six core values and standards of the British Army - identified as courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment.

The centre will use examples from the infantry's rich heritage and history through lectures, displays and archive film footage to demonstrate these core values and standards.

In addition it will allow the 5,000 recruits who arrive at the ITC each year to be imbued with the standards at the foundation stage of their military careers - and highlight to them the heritage linked specifically to regimental history.

Brigadier Clements said: "I want the centre to bring to life the realities of war, to help improve our esprit-decorps and to develop the infantry fighting spirit in our young soldiers.

"The centre will become a medium for educating infantry recruits and promoting a better understanding of our core values and standards."

The delivery of the six core values will be presented to all recruits who undergo the first phases of their training at the ITC. The presentation will primarily be the responsibility of the base's senior chaplain and the respective battalion padres.

Curator Paul Cooper said: "We are not a museum but a teaching tool to improve the soldiers of today by identifying lessons learned in history."

General Richards is also the Colonel Commandant of the Gurkha Brigade and before opening the new centre he took the salute at the pass-out parade for 250 Gurkhas who have completed their training.

He was accompanied by one of the brigade's heroes - Victoria Cross winner Captain Rambahadur Limbu.

He was honoured with the medal in 1965 when he was a 26-year-old lancecorporal serving in Sarawak, Borneo.

He rescued two of his comrades who had been wounded and then singlehandedly took on the 30-strong group of rebels who had attacked them.