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Kent's armed forces
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
A long hot Christmas
By Ed Cook
While many of us were preparing to spend Christmas with family, hundreds of Kent soldiers were getting ready to fight the Taliban.
The Second Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment is based in Dhekelia, Cyprus. Over Christmas some of them were stationed in Afghanistan, and some were home on leave. The others will be in Cyprus, some with the families, celebrating Christmas whilst carrying on with their training.
Corporal Spencer Pinch from Faversham
Some troops are lucky enough to have family accommodation, so they can be with their wives and children outside of training exercises. One of them is Corporal Spencer Pinch from Faversham, who survived the famous 'Seige of Roshan Tower'.
Army chiefs have said it was one of the most savage battles of the conflict in Afghanistan - and has been compared to British defence of their base in Rorke's Drift in 1879.
Corporal Pinch was among 30 soldiers who held off some 400 Taliban over a nine-day period. He said: "We were getting a lot of indirect fire and about 50 mortar rounds landed where we were. We were under attack for about 14-hours one day."
Nominated for a True Grit Award in The Sun Military Awards, 'The Millies', for his part in that battle, Corporal Pinch talks about how he stayed focused while under attack:
Corporal Pinch will serve in Afghanistan again in January for three-months and has no plans to quit the Army. "I've done 10 years - I've got another 12 to go", he said.
Corporal Spencer Pinch and his family
As the father-of-two goes through intense training in Cyprus, his wife, Mandy, is trying to adjust to life in the military base in Dhekelia. It has everything you would expect to see in Britain: a bank, a supermarket, a bar, a cinema and a theatre.
"It's crazy, because it's December and the temperature is 16 or 17-degrees celsius," said Mandy. She joked, "It's going to be hard having Christmas lunch on the beach but someone's got to do it."
One man who will be serving up plenty of festive treats for the troops is Private Adam Cowins, who's a chef. He said, "It's now really hectic, with so many functions taking place, but it's not too bad. Instead of cooking in a small pan, you just put everything in a big pan.
Private Adam Cowins.
"All the cooking sets once went down out in Afghanistan, so I had to dig a hole in the ground and make ovens out of thinks like oil drums".
The battalion's Commanding Officer, Doug Chalmers, said the clashes at Roshan Tower were intense, but not rare: "Our 'B Company' had some pretty intense times in the cornfields down in the South. There's a lot of it going on, almost on a daily basis."
last updated: 19/08/2009 at 12:50