Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Soldiers Head for Front Line; SIX TA MEMBERS OFF TO AFGHANISTAN ON TOUR OF DUTY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Soldiers Head for Front Line; SIX TA MEMBERS OFF TO AFGHANISTAN ON TOUR OF DUTY

Article excerpt

Byline: KATY SIMPSON

FOR many of them, it will be their first tour of duty on the frontline.

Six Territorial Army soldiers from Tyneside are preparing to leave their families behind to head out to war-torn Afghanistan later this month.

The group from 101 Northumbrian Regiment Royal Artillery, known as the Geordie Gunners, will join regular soldiers out in Helmand Province for six months.

Lieutenant Dan Purvis, 22, of Chapel House, Gunner Karl Bullock, 20, and Gnr Kris Riley, 23, both from South Shields, Gnr Laura Moore, 24, of Blaydon, will be led by their senior officer Captain Eyton Parker, 33, also from South Shields.

It will be the first tour for 24-year-old Laura Moore, who is looking forward to swapping her office job at One North East for the desert landscape of Afghanistan.

She is following in the footsteps of her older sister Jayne who served in Iraq with the TA in 2003.

Laura, who is the youngest of four brothers and sisters, lives in Blaydon with her mum and dad, who cannot help but feel anxious about the trip.

Laura said: "My parents are worried but they are coping quite well. They have been through it before.

"I'm just looking forward to doing the job I'm trained to do. It's obviously quite different from the job I normally do and that's why I love it.

"I get on with everyone really well."

But while some of them have little operational experience, their 52-year-old colleague Sergeant Kevin Pardue, who is also going with them, has plenty of years under his belt to make up for it.

The Chronicle told earlier this month how he was surprised to receive his papers because of his age.

But for Lt Purvis, who is 30 years younger than Sgt Pardue, it will be his first tour of duty.

The Politics student, who graduated this year from Northumbria University, said: "I'm quite excited, but also a bit anxious.

"This is my first tour, so I've never been to Afghanistan before. It's what I have always wanted to do. …

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