Highly-trained soldiers from Northamptonshire have declared they want the most boring tour possible as they prepare to leave for Afghanistan.
Royal Anglian soldiers usually thrive in the potentially dangerous hotspots where the British Army sends them.
But the Poachers, as they are known, know the tour they will embark on soon will be the last for British soldiers in Afghanistan. And the young fathers among them have an extra incentive to stay safe.
Lance Corporal Jamie Reeve, from Kings Heath, in Northampton, who will be a dad by the time he gets to Afghanistan in January, said: “Everyone says they want an exciting tour, but realistically they want to come home safely so they’d really prefer an unexciting one.
“My family are all of the ‘boring’ opinion. I have a little one on the way so I’ll be really excited to get back.”
Private Craig Nicholls, aged 21, from Thrapston, who described himself as “anxious excited, ready”, said: “I want a boring tour. We’ve recently had a little baby, an eight-week-old, called Reggie.
“The last thing I want is to get injured in some way. I’d be quite happy to have a relaxed tour, save some money and come back safe to my family.”
His wife, Jade, said: “Boring or exciting? I’d rather there was no tour at all to be honest.
“With us having a baby now it’s a very emotional time.”
Pte Nicholls and L/Cpl Reeve, who are in C Company, will be part of 7th Armoured Brigade and will be tasked with helping to complete the handover of security to the Afghan national army.
Commanding officer Lt Col Nigel Johnson said the army tried to reduce apprehension among family members by making sure they were in regular contact with the troops thousands of miles away.
He added: “I’m sure there’s apprehension and I’m sure there’s nerves, but they’re confident they can do the job and I think we’re going to have a very successful tour.
“I would like a quiet tour and so would my soldiers and I have to stress it will be a quiet tour. The Afghans have taken the lead for security. We are now simply extracting ourselves having got them to that position.”