Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grenadiers Guards return to Afghanistan

Pic: Grenadier Guards training for Op HERRICK 11.

Report by Lt Col Roly Walker
Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards

11 LIGHT BRIGADE promises to be one of the best trained and supported British Brigades to take to the field: in 2006 the UK Government spent around £750 million on military operations in Afghanistan. In 2009 it will be around £3.5 billion.

We will be based in a relatively new area of operations so conditions will be pretty rough and rudimentary. Most of the soldiers will be living in patrol bases, which are basically local Afghan compounds improved with some barriers and sentry positions, in the heart of the local community.

Food will be mainly rations, self cooked. Water comes from local boreholes or is shipped in on supply convoys. We will wash using wash bowls and shower bags, and sleep on camp beds - some in tents, others in buildings of opportunity.

The routine will be busy, noisy, and dusty.

The majority of the time will be spent out and about on patrol reassuring the local population, or on deliberate offensive operations to disrupt the insurgents. The weights we will carry will come as a shock - over 70 lbs just to conduct a patrol - essential equipment, body armour, weapons, ammunition, batteries, water, and food.

The rest of the time will be spent in the patrol bases, either resting or guarding the base. Comforts will be hard to come by. There will be satellite phones, but access to the internet will be limited. Mail will be delivered whenever the supply convoys come through the area.

Once we get there, we have to succeed. Every man and woman will need to stay focussed on the job, stay alert, and maintain high standards of discipline.

Afghanistan is full of contrasts. Ancient traditions dance with modern, the terrain varies from the mountains of the Hindu Kush rising into the Himalaya, to the sand seas flowing into Baluchistan, and from farmlands to the rocky barren deserts. Our task promises to be no different.

Op HERRICK is a demanding and dangerous operation and I have been in the Army long enough to know it will change people's lives. But I have been overwhelmed by the determination and courage of the young men and women I have trained with over the last few months. They are proving to be a very tough generation, and their families and local communities should be very proud of them.


  1. God bless you all, your never out or thoughts, we all waiting to see you home again, so take care out there, So proud of you all,

    One day your be an Old Grenadier,but never an ex Grenadier. Rod Bedford (Once pay Joke of taggy two, 2 Company 2nd Bn)

  2. Hope all come back safe and sound. If you're NCO's are half as good as in my time I'm sure you'll do us all proud.
    From Mal'Smudge'Smith, Ex the Mighty Mighty Inkerman.

  3. best wishes
    to all the grenadiers on tour in afghanistan,
    our son is one of the chaps out there.
    fight hard,keep safe you are all hero,s
    darren heaton and family

  4. Good luck to all the Coldstream Guards on way out tonight, God bless you all keep safe see you when you return for r&r. Please no heroics this time.

  5. Keep your heads down lads,come home safe,your doing a great job again as Grens always do. Ex Gold Sgt 1st bat('60's)

  6. god bless all of you lets all hope you all come home safe and sound keep your heads down.we as old grenadiers know that the modern grenadiers are up to the job as allways once a grenadier allways a grenadier GOOD LUCK LADS D.Newton ex MTWO CSM HQ Coy

  7. mum of a gren gd in queens coy.

    god bless all the grenadier guards serving alongside my son in afghan, R.I.P the young soldier who has just lost his life, my heart goes out to his family. you are in my thoughts mark, along with all the brave grenadiers you serve with, keep safe son xx

  8. we have two son serving with the grenadiers in afghanistan ,and to here the sad news that we herd today breaks are heart and brings tears to are eyesto the poor family of the your grenadier guardsman from all four corners of the country we pray for you and you are in are thoughts i just wish i could put into words how i feel at this time ,but i know that in your heart you know may god give you strenth

  9. God go with you, aim straight and never forget the Grenade you wear has carried many into Battle. Always in the thoughts of the many. Close with and kill the enemy.

  10. I served in two Battalions of Grenadiers and it still feels personal when I hear of the loss of a young Guardsman, years after leaving the fold. My thoughts go out to all who have to get on with the job and to the families anxiously waiting at home. I am full of admiration for the incredible courage of these young men in such a hostile atmosphere, enduring hardships with unflinching professionalism. I can only offer my deep support for the Regiment and if there is call for those of us back home to help in anyway, we will. Once a Grenadier, always a Grenadier.

  11. to all the service men and women who are in afganistan.please keep safe britian are proud of their soldiers.i have a son who is in the greniders guards he left sept.i wish him and his fellow soldiers a safe return.god bess u all xxxxxxxxxxxx michelle

  12. Good luck and God bless all the grenadiers on their current tour, All are heroes in my eyes.. Wishing you all the best and a safe return next spring.. stay low move fats crooksie.. cant wait until your R+R.
    Also regards to all the worrying mothers who written on this blog.. your very brave.
    Nick sarge

  13. im a mother of a soldier in afgan and i can say hand on heart this is the worst thing ive had to go through but i am very proud of my son and all the other boys and girls out there

  14. god bless you all, this is the hardest thing i have ever gone through but cant begin to imagine what my hunny is going through!!! all of you stay safe and remember everyone is so proud of you all! xxx

  15. Hi Guys
    Sad sad news today, thinking of you and those you love;

    There are many kinds of sorrow
    In this world of Love and Hate,
    But there is no sterner sorrow
    Than a soldier’s for his mate.
    Sergeant L.T. Brinson WW 1


  16. I want to take this opportunity to say R.I.P to all of our 4 lads we sadly lost this last week and from last month. All sadly missed,in our hearts forever. Great friends of my husbands and myself.
    My husband will be serving in afghan along side his friends in January for half the tour. We are proud of all of our lads, stay safe and come home soon xxx

  17. For all our lads and lassies out in Afghanistan, your all be missed this Christmas at home, but you'll never be forgotten, I'll raise a toast not just at Christmas, but everyday, if you see a pretty little RMP Sgt Fielding out there at the moment, give her a hug from her uncle Rod,
    Have a happy and safe Christmas
    From an old Grenadier, they said I'm too old even to come and pan dive for you all;

  18. god bless all the brave grenader guards that serve our country for somethig they belive in. let them all rest in peace. an i hope il be treated the same when i goin an get sent to afganifstan to do something in aswell

  19. God bless to all the Grens in Afghan. All our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    Stay safe. We look forward so much to when you come home.

  20. Not long before the end of this tour. Stay lucky and keep safe

  21. mary glad my son home he volunteer to go he is in the irish guards and will have to do another tour in september stay save godbless