Stowmarket: Soldier’s snap wins army competition

THEY were originally taken for the worst imaginable of circumstances.

The dozen images of British soldiers prior to their deployment in Afghanistan were only intended to be used if one of them died.

But now one of the pictures has scooped a Suffolk army photographer top prize in an in-house contest.

Sergeant Mike Fletcher, from Hitcham, near Stowmarket, won best overall picture in the Army Photographic Competition.

His haunting black and white image of Sgt Craig Anderson, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, wowed judges.

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Sgt Fletcher said as well as being potential eulogy photographs he wanted the images to help soldiers’ families while they were away.

The 38-year-old, originally from Nottinghamshire, said: “It was about giving something to the wives and girlfriends because they are a massive part of our lives when we are away.

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“I know how much time and effort went into looking after me while I was posted abroad and I felt it was only right and proper that I give something to Craig he could give to his wife.”

Sgt Fletcher, whose wife Marie works at Barbergh District Council, said the black background was intended to portray the darker side to life as an army soldier.

He added: “It’s the look in Craig’s eye that I like and presumably the judges did too.”

The photographer, who works in the Operational Training Advisory Group, said he was “chuffed” and “surprised” by the award.

He added: “Photography is such a subjective thing, it’s difficult to know what the judges will and won’t like.”

Sgt Fletcher was presented with his award during a ceremony at the Imperial War Museum, London, on Wednesday.

General Sir Peter Wall, head of the British Army, said Sgt Fletcher’s picture was one of many outstanding images in the contest.

“I congratulate them all,” he added. “This is a splendid collection.”

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