'I went from writer to a fighter in war'

A war correspondent who was given his first break as a journalist at the Chronicle & Echo is returning home, after swapping reporting on the conflict in Afghanistan for fighting in it.

In a matter of weeks Clive Lewis, a BBC Look East reporter, went from sending home dispatches to running the Territorial Army's Combat Camera Team (CCT) in Helmand Province, covering the deadly Panther's Claw operation.

The 38-year-old lieutenant has now completed his tour with the 7 Rifles infantry, and has said there were times he was worried whether or not he would return home alive.

He said: "It's certainly been emotional. The sheer contrast of one month working on BBC TV news and the next finding yourself in the middle of some of the fiercest fighting you can imagine, is quite something else.

"There were times you wondered if you'd ever make it home. I'm just glad I have."

The CCT is a small team of soldiers, trained to use video and stills cameras, who are attached to front line fighting troops.

It's their job to capture British soldiers in action, often in the most dangerous of situations.

He was part of a patrol which was ambushed after an improvised explosive device blew up one of their trucks, and is pictured here next to the crater caused by the bomb.

Lt Lewis, a former Weston Favell Upper School student, added: "As the commanding officer of the team it's my job to primarily protect them as they concentrate on getting the video and pictures.

"Once we've got what we need, we use satellite technology to beam the pictures back to the UK for use by the world's media. Much of the fighting you will have seen on the news these last few months was filmed by my team, sometimes under the harshest of conditions.

"I really am quite proud of them and what they have achieved this tour."

l CLIVE'S story is featured in the October issue of Image magazine, which is out next week.