Norfolk soldiers set for mission in Sierra Leone
A Norfolk-based army regiment is heading to Africa to play a role in the fight against the growing threat of terrorism in the continent.
In its first overseas deployment since moving to Norfolk, in the summer, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards (QDG) is sending a team of 58 soldiers to train members of the armed forces in Sierra Leone.
Major Nicholas Garland, 32, who will lead the team, said: 'We are all very much looking forward to it.
'It is a lot different to the work we have done in the past.
'For a start we won't be taking any of our own weapons with us.
'Unlike when we have fought in conflict zones, we will be welcomed when we arrive and the Sierra Leonean people will be pleased to see us. We are very excited to be working with them.'
The short term training team from the regiment's A Squadron will spend three months training members of the Republic of Sierra Leonean Armed Forces (RSLAF).
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In 2012 the RSLAF deployed a battalion to Somalia in support of the African Union Mission there.
But the Ebola outbreak in May 2014 disrupted their work and the battalion needs to be retrained.
Based in Freetown, the QDG soldiers will deliver training in weapon handling, basic navigation, discipline, values and standards, patrol skills, platoon and company battle drills and offensive, defensive and enabling actions, including reconnaissance and ambushes.
Trooper Adam Couch, 27, said: 'I'm really looking forward to working with the people of Sierra Leone - to experience their culture and to see the country.
'Not many people get the chance to have an experience like this.
'Sierra Leone has a good relationship with Britain because of the role we played in ending the civil war out there and, from what I've been told, we will get a warm welcome.'
While in Sierra Leone, the QDGs, who moved from Germany to The Robertson Barracks at Swanton Morley, near Dereham, in the summer, will also be supporting Norwich-based charity Street Child, who will be continuing its work to support homeless children.
Some of the soldiers will be taking part in Street Child's Sierra Leone Marathon.
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