26/01/2012

Deep in the countryside of eastern England, British troops train in a mock Afghan village designed to look, feel, and sound like the real thing. The 30,000-acre training complex allows soldiers to prepare themselves for the cultural and tactical challenges operating in Afghanistan. The facility, built in 2008, is meant to replicate a typical village in Helmand, with houses, shops and open markets, and the exiles playing the role of villagers.
In July 1942 about a thousand men, women and children were compulsorily evacuated from the site north of Thetford. It is an area of heath forming a large part of the unique Norfolk- Suffolk Breckland landscape which was cleared to make way for an army training area where troops could manoeuvre using live ammunition.
On today's Open Country, Jules Hudson visits the site to investigate how important the village is in preparing the troops for Afghanistan and finds out how those displaced from their villages in 1942 feel about the evacuation 70 years on.

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25 minutes

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Sat 28 Jan 2012 06:07

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