Soldiers 'determined' ahead of first Afghanistan tour

Private Lee Tomlinson and Guardsman Ched Griffiths
Private Lee Tomlinson (left) and Guardsman Ched Griffiths will soon be deployed

The deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan this week marked he biggest UK loss due to enemy action since the start of the conflict.

Five members of 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment died and one member of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.

The group were on patrol in Kandahar province when a Taliban bomb hit their Warrior armoured vehicle.

Since 2001, 404 military personnel have been killed in Afghanistan.

Newsbeat speaks to two soldiers who are about to leave for their first tour of duty in Afghanistan.

"We're trained soldiers so it's not much of a shock to us to go there," says Guardsman Ched Griffiths, 20, from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.

"Obviously when we hit the ground then emotions will kick in, thinking about family and friends, but we're trained soldiers so it's what we expect to do."

Private Lee Tomlinson, 21, is from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, and knew those killed by the bomb.

"A bit apprehensive, a bit anxious," he admits. "[But] from experience they would have wanted us to get our heads down, do the tour, crack on and make them proud."

Family worries

If anything, the events of this week seem to have made the two soldiers even more determined to do their best when out in Afghanistan.

"Obviously it's tragic to lose men," says Ched.

Clockwise from top left: Pte Wade, Pte Wilford, Pte Frampton, Pte Kershaw, Cpl Hartley and Sgt Coupe
The soldiers who were killed this week (clockwise from top left): Pte Wade, Pte Wilford, Pte Frampton, Pte Kershaw, Cpl Hartley and Sgt Coupe

"I feel for their family and friends [but] when stuff like this happens it inspires us to get out there and do our job even more."

The effect on those left behind is something they're both sensitive to though.

Ched admits his family and friends "have their doubts" but says they also feel very proud.

"With their motivation behind you it gets you going more," he tells Newsbeat.

"It's just a matter of getting out there now and doing it - and coming back safe."

Lee's family have similar feelings about his upcoming tour at the beginning of April.

"My dad spent 12 years in the forces. He's totally behind me," says Lee.

"My mother - like most mothers of soldiers - they don't want you to go but know you've got a job to do."

Lee and Ched understand the worries but say they're determined to serve and make the country safer.

"It's the same when I go home, people have their doubts, they say 'Why?' and they want the soldiers to come home," admits Ched.

"But - at the end of the day - we know what we came in the Army to do .

"We've got to go out there and do the job. As soon as the job's done we'll all be home won't we."

Lee adds: "I've spoken to lads in my battalion who've done past tours.

"With them going over this time they will probably see a difference from the previous tour; how things have changed and the transition that the forces are trying to achieve."