Soldiers in Helmand prepare to celebrate royal wedding
A group of soldiers serving in Afghanistan have decked out their base with Union Jacks, in preparation for the Royal Wedding.
To the west of Lashkar Gah is Check Point (CP) KUCHIAN which is home to elements of B Company, 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (3 MERCIANS) and 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (4 SCOTS). Over the next six months, these soldiers will be training members of the Afghan National Police (ANP) with whom they share the CP.
This Friday, when most people will be enjoying a day off to watch the wedding, they, along with other British forces in Afghanistan will be working hard, alongside their Afghan colleagues to provide security for the people of Helmand.
Determined not to miss out on the pomp and ceremony sweeping the UK, the men of B Company have nevertheless decided to get into the spirit and spruce up their austere base to make it slightly more fit for a Royal occasion.
Corporal Mark Sumner is in charge of the team of soldiers. Having served in Kosovo and Iraq, this is his first tour of Afghanistan.
“It’s been really busy since we arrived as we are carrying out daily patrols with the ANP in the area. We don’t have a TV here at the CP so we won’t be able to watch the wedding but we have got a laptop and we’ll hopefully be able to see the pictures or watch some of it online. Our families and friends have sent us bunting and flags which we’ve put up so we don’t feel left out. I would like to wish Prince William and Kate Middleton a fantastic day on Friday.”
Corporal Carl Woodley is 31 and from Stafford. He’s been in the Army 12 years and served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kosovo and Iraq but this is his first tour in Afghanistan.
“I only recently joined B Company but the lads are great and we’ve all got on really well – which is good considering how closely we live and work together. I’d like to wish the Royal couple all the best – have a good one and have a few drinks on us!”
Lance Corporal Daniel Powell, from Rugeley, has been in the Army four years and this is his first operational tour.
“My Mum was really apprehensive about me coming out here but both my Mum and Dad are really proud of what I’m doing and I really enjoy it, it’s the reason I joined the Army. I’d like to wish William and Kate all the best for the future. I’m planning on getting married when I get home so I hope my fiancée doesn’t get too many ideas from their wedding!”
Private Neko Flanaghan, 20, also from Rugeley is also on his first tour of Afghanistan after joining the Army last year.
“The tour is going well but it’s starting to get really hot now which takes some getting used to. Congratulations to William and Kate – hope you both enjoy your big day.”
Corporal Brett Hopley (25) from Birmingham has completed two tours of Iraq but this is his first time in Afghanistan. He said:
“We’re only a small team but have a really good bunch of blokes here and will be cheering on William and Kate on Friday. I’m sure their wedding day will be as special as mine was when I married Kirsty. I know she’ll be watching it back home.”
Private Brendon Herbert has been in the Army two years. The 22 year old from Birmingham said:
“This is my first tour and it’s going really quickly. Life here is pretty basic and I miss my family and friends but believe it or not it’s very enjoyable. I’d like to say to William and Kate – Congratulations on your big day, sorry I couldn’t make it!”
Private Will Smith (20) who is on his first tour said:
“I am really enjoying being here – it’s the reason I joined the Army. The guys are a great team and we all get on really well. Congratulations and keep up the good work.”