TWO days in to my mini tour of duty in Basra and my perception of things has already changed dramatically.
Before I left I thought the army was engaged in frequent firefights with the enemy.
But since arriving here I have found they have only been in one or two and the base hasn’t been attacked since the beginning of September. There is still a job to be done here by the Fusiliers though, many of them from Birmingham and the West Midlands.
A lot of the time they are waiting to support other operations or to be called out on strikes that target specific threats. The soldiers will tell you they’re bored and counting down the days until they can go home. It’s totally understandable.
They haven’t seen their young children, wives, mums, dads, brothers and sisters for more than four months. The last time they went for a beer with their mates was before they came out on tour in May.
In hot, dusty conditions the soldiers crave a break and a bit of downtime as they are deprived of sleep for up to 36 hours at a time.
They are trained to deal with it but it quite obviously takes its toll by the look on their faces.
But spirits are still high in Basra.
To read more about life in Basra on the Birmingham Mail website click here