Suffolk soldier's peace keeping role

AN Army officer from Suffolk has spoken of his task to help the people or Iraq rebuild their war-torn country.2nd Lieutenant Andrew Shand, of 1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, is deployed in a peace-keeping role at Az Zubayr port in southern Iraq.

AN Army officer from Suffolk has spoken of his task to help the people or Iraq rebuild their war-torn country.

2nd Lieutenant Andrew Shand, of 1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, is deployed in a peace-keeping role at Az Zubayr port in southern Iraq.

The 24-year-old platoon commander's tasks can include supervision of anything from weapons searches to patrols.

His current duties are very different to when he first entered Iraq a few weeks ago.

"We crossed the border at D plus 12 hours and we were first on the scene," said Lt Shand.

"But inside Kuwait we were mortared and when we moved to Umm Qasr to set up the POW camp we had contact with small arms fire.

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"At that stage the guys were tense but they reacted well after having no sleep for several hours. We worked hard to get the camp up.

"While we were building it you could see artillery explosions just a couple of kilometres away."

The former Newcastle University student is now helping to enforce law and order in the local area.

He said: "We are patrolling the major installations because they are prone to looting. In the case of the steel works we heard voices inside and I entered the huge building with four others.

"We surprised about 20 looters who were cutting up machinery and taking engine parts. None of them were armed except for a few knives.

"We grabbed three of the ring leaders and took them to the police station. It represents success because this kind of behaviour is no longer tolerated. The law needs to be obeyed."

The officer was commissioned in 2001 and is normally based in Germany. He added: "The thing I miss the most is spring to summer time, the village games of cricket and the green landscape. I also miss my girlfriend Sam and my family."

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