Soldiers from Woodbridge-based 23 Para traing with Norfolk firefighters at Whitlingham Broad, near Norwich

The team who took part. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe

The team who took part. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe - Credit: Cpl Georgina Coupe RLC (Phot)

Exercise Eagles Fire saw divers from 23 Parachute Engineer Regt and Norfolk fire service's under water search and recovery (UWSAR) take to the water together.

Entering the water using a rope. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe

Entering the water using a rope. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe - Credit: Cpl Georgina Coupe RLC (Phot)

Royal Engineer divers are trained to carry out underwater construction, demolition, search, survey and recovery, while Norfolk is the country's only fire and rescue service with a diving team trained to carry out search and recovery of bodies, vehicles and weapons.

The week-long underwater masterclass allowed the divers to demonstrate their different kit and techniques and share best practice while building links between the army and emergency services in East Anglia.

Practising a drill. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe

Practising a drill. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe - Credit: Cpl Georgina Coupe RLC (Phot)

Firefighters showed their forensic and evidence collection skills at Whitlingham Broad and roped access techniques at Thornham Reservoir, while the sappers demonstrated their construction abilities in the North Sea off Great Yarmouth.

Capt Steve Robinson, dive officer for Woodbridge-based 23 Para Engr Regt, said: 'It's been a really good opportunity for us to work with different divers and understand how they apply the same basic skills to do a slightly different job. We both perform underwater searches, but the firefighters use different equipment and methods and have to consider the complexities of preserving forensic evidence for police investigations. We've learnt a lot from a team that is very experienced at carrying out real life diving tasks.'

A diver enters the water using arope during the exercise. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe

A diver enters the water using arope during the exercise. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe - Credit: Cpl Georgina Coupe RLC (Phot)

Alan Nicholls, UWSAR station manager, said: 'I'm a former Royal Engineer diver and recognise that we can both develop our capabilities by collaboration.

'My divers have seen how fit and motivated the soldiers are and their high levels of professionalism and safety awareness and their willingness to learn new skills and consider different ways of getting round a problem.'

Airborne engineers and firefighters take to the water together. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe

Airborne engineers and firefighters take to the water together. Picture: Cpl Georgina Coupe - Credit: Cpl Georgina Coupe RLC (Phot)

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Diving is a key capability for 23 Para Engr Regt in its role providing close combat engineering support to the Air Assault Task Force (AATF), which sees 16 Air Assault Brigade maintain a force ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice for operations from disaster relief to war fighting.

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