YOUTH MATTERS Pride tinged with fear for our brave servicemen

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Watching a television show recently, it was said that the scariest job was as a deep-sea diver. I was surprised that a soldier wasn’t top of the list.

When my brother signed up to the Army almost six years ago and moved out of the family home, it was strange not to see him every day, but he was still local enough to visit regularly.

Although Russell is in the Intelligence Corps and not on the front line, when somebody so close to you leaves the country, for whatever reason it might be, fear sets in.

When it’s a member of your family leaving to go to war, in whatever regiment or services, the fear increases 100 times. Every time the phone rings, your heart skips a beat and your mind thinks ‘what if?’.

I have watched my big brother grow into an amazing person already in just under six years. I remember going to his passing out parade, watching as he marched alongside his colleagues with high admiration.

I wish our granddads, one who had also been in the Army and the other who had served in the second world war in the RAF, had also been able to witness the occasion and felt the same pride myself and my family had that day.

On Armistice Day this year, as I did my two minutes’ silence, I felt a hard lump in the back of my throat and held back the tears as my mind raced with images of our boys, and my brother out in Afghanistan right now, battling to protect our country and bring peace to the world.

The debate will always continue about whether they should be there, but I feel we should unite and not let the tragedy that occurs regularly become the opinion that any soldier is dying in vain.

Kelly Wickham