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See it through their eyes – Battlegroup Afghanistan

See it through their eyes – Battlegroup Afghanistan

The conflict in Afghanistan has seen the men of the Royal Armoured Corps engaged in some of the fiercest fighting since World War Two.

Now they tell their story in The Tank Museum’s new exhibition ‘Battlegroup Afghanistan – The Armoured Soldiers’ story which opens to the public in April.


In their own words, the serving soldiers will share their experiences and views of a conflict that is soon to enter its tenth year. In a recreated Forward Operating Base, visitors will see the vehicles used by the armoured regiments and immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and conditions of life on operations today.

Researchers have spent hours interviewing soldiers from various regiments who have seen action in Afghanistan to create the new exhibition, providing a vast amount of audio and video content that visitors will hear and watch as they explore the Forward Operating Base. True stories from the front line will include examples of day-to-day bravery that the public have never had the opportunity to hear until now.

To mark the opening of this exhibition visitors will have the chance to meet serving-soldiers and find out more about life and work in the hostile climate of Afghanistan, try on the soldiers’ desert kit, try soldiers rations, learn how to make dirty water clean, and learn more about the weapons and equipment of the modern army.

On the special message wall, visitors can leave messages for the Royal Armoured Corps soldiers on active service before trying their hand at a range of craft activities.

Prince Charles at Wattisham air base to present Afghanistan war medals.

Prince Charles at Wattisham air base to present Afghanistan war medals.

As colonel-in-chief of the Army Air Corps (AAC), Prince Charles was at Wattisham air base to present Afghanistan war medals.

The Army Air Corps (AAC) provides air support to soldiers on the ground.

Having just returned from a four-month tour of duty in January, Two squadrons from 4 Regiment, who operate Apache helicopters were there to meet him.

Prince Charles was there to present 35 operational service medals, three for long service and good conduct and one meritorious service medal.


afghan medals


He said: “Having visited Afghanistan last March and having seen something of [Camp] Bastion, I at least have a vague idea of the sort of conditions you’re enduring and putting up with.

“I had to be shown how to strap myself in and get used to what goes on in the aircraft by my youngest son.
‘Very proud’

“The trouble was that I found out very quickly that I’m past my sell-by date on the instrumentation and just about everything else, because I haven’t had the advantage of being part of the Playstation generation which, I suspect, is a vital need as far as flying the Apache is concerned.

“But, I did at least discover just what an extraordinarily sophisticated and remarkable machine it is.”

The recipient of the meritorious service medal, Warrant Officer Class 1 Martyn Leadbetter, who is about to leave the army, said: “You’re nominated by your chain of command, you then go to the medals board and, if you’re lucky enough, your name is listed in the Queen’s honours list.

“I’m very proud indeed. It caps my career very nicely.”

Gurkhas Help Destroy Massive Explosives Haul in Afghanistan

Gurkhas Help Destroy Massive Explosives Haul in Afghanistan

fuseGurkhas took part in a mission to destroy a Taliban haul of explosives, they blew up enough homemade explosives to kill a hundred British soldiers.

A controlled blast in the Afghan desert destroyed more than 800kg of explosives in an operation which involved the 2nd Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, the Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP), and British troops from the specialist Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Taskforce.

The bombs were destroyed alongside 60 detonators, anti-personnel mines, and other explosives-related material which had been seized in a series of operations in the Lashkar Gar area.

Navy Petty Officer Gareth Buffrey said: “Disposing of this amount of HME (homemade explosives) is not easy – there are obvious risks involved and it can be dangerous. But this day’s success was down to the enthusiasm of the AUP, their willingness to learn and the support of the Gurkhas.”

Early on Saturday morning, they loaded up their vehicles with the explosives and other material and drove 4km out of the district centre to begin their mission.

The Afghans were shown by the Gurkhas how to prepare it so that it could be destroyed in a safe and controlled way, the explosion produced a plume of smoke 60ft into the air.

The two battalions of the Royal Gurkha Rifles have served with distinction in Afghanistan since the start of operations.