Brother (and Sister) in Arms; Siblings Make Military History as First Ever to Serve on Frontline Together

Sunday Mirror (London, England), April 22, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Brother (and Sister) in Arms; Siblings Make Military History as First Ever to Serve on Frontline Together


Byline: MICHAEL HAMILTON

A BROTHER and sister have made military history by becoming the first to serve alongside each other battling the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Corporals Alan Cheshire and Becky Gwynne have been deployed as part of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, the British Army's "eyes and ears".

Based at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, they carried out operations together for three weeks as Alan started a six-month tour of duty just as Becky came to the end of hers.

Yesterday proud mum Jan Cheshire said: "I really wasn't happy when I found out they were both going to Afghanistan at the same time.

"I realise that being on the frontline is extremely dangerous and that there was always the chance that they could have been harmed or even worse.

"But strangely I took comfort from knowing they were together out there."

Alan, 24, a section commander with the Light Dragoons, leads men on patrols in war-torn Helmand while military police officer Becky's role has been to support operations there.

Our picture shows them side by side on an armoured vehicle.

Their joint deployment brought the chilling possibility they could come under enemy attack at the same time.

Cpl Gwynne, 26, of the Royal Military Police, and her brother were recently deployed together on a helicopter insertion operation.

The mission saw them fly into a "hot" enemy area for counter -insurgency patrols and to show a strong UK presence to the Taliban.

While Alan would have led his men on patrol or set up road-blocks, Becky was there to enforce the law and to question and search any women on the ground.

Alan, who married his childhood sweetheart Kirsty, 21, last August, is on his third tour of Afghanistan after earlier deployments in 2005 and 2009.

He arrived at the end of March after specialist training in Kenya and Canada. Becky is now on her way home.

As a tank commander, Alan is embarking on six months of operations during the summer "fighting season".

He said: "It feels really weird seeing your sister in Afghan. But it's nice to know she's done her time and is going home nice and safe.

"I'm looking forward to getting on and doing the job I've been training for. Hopefully, I'll get loads of parcels from Becky when she gets home."

Much of Red Cap Becky's work has involved dealing with Afghan women.

"I ensure all females are searched, and deal with any detainees on the ground," said Becky, who is normally based in Paderborn, Germany, where she lives with husband Adam, 27. "I make sure evidence is handled properly."

She is now set to play a role in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and in protecting the London Olympics.

Mum Jan, 53, will today travel to Germany for an emotional reunion with her daughter. Speaking at the family home in Hereford, Jan said of her children: "They've always been the best of friends and share the same sense of humour so it's been nice to think of them having a laugh together.

"Of course I worry about them and friends often ask me how I cope but all forces' families are in the same boat and I'd go mad if I spent all my time worrying.

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