Orpington and Beckenham soldiers head to Falklands
Soldiers who normally protect Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London swapped their ceremonial kit for combats in The Falklands.
Members of Woolwich-based 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment are as far south as you can get before reaching Antarctica, some 8,000 miles from home.
Among them is former Langley Park Boys School pupil Private Richard Budd, from Beckenham, and Private Antony Colby, from Orpington.
They have been undergoing tough training regimes and providing security on the island.
Former Kemnal Technology pupil Antony said: “It is a fascinating experience. The weather is bitterly cold and we have got in some superb training, working in freezing conditions across really tough terrain.
“And it is a great chance to see a new part of the world.”
The soldiers were street-liners for the Royal Wedding but now their duties include patrolling mountains and valleys to provide reassurance to isolated settlements.
British Forces remain in the Falklands following the 1982 conflict to support the Islanders who wish to remain UK sovereign territory.
Richard said: “It has been a really different experience coming to the Falklands, and a real challenge training in such cold weather, when temperatures have been well below zero, especially up in the mountains.”
The stay has by no means been all work, however.
They have had the chance to get close up to the exotic wildlife on remote beaches, including penguins and sea lions.
They have also visited the island’s capital Stanley and been to the battlefields where their army predecessors fought the conflict nearly 30 years ago.
When they return to the UK in four months time, the soliders will get a spot of leave before returning to public duties including supporting the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics 2012.