The Accidental Soldier: From Civvy Street to Afghanistan

The Accidental Soldier: From Civvy Street to Afghanistan

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1908695935

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

When Stephen Paul Stewart found himself embedded alongside British troops as they battled the Taliban, it was supposed to be a routine assignment. But his journalistic mission to the front line changed his life forever. He gave up the safety of his job as a newspaper reporter to join the British Army full time before deploying to Afghanistan as a combat infantryman. This is the fascinating story of Stewart's personal odyssey from civilian to soldier, gaining a truly unique perspective on one of the world's bloodiest conflicts. Stewart's gruelling tour saw him serve six-and-a-half months at the remotest British base in Afghanistan during some key stages in the campaign. The Accidental Soldier is a vivid, honest and often shocking portrayal of survival and sacrifice on the front line. It uncovers the reality of modern military life and loss and sums up the massive impact that the long-running conflict has wreaked on our soldiers and their families

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followed by premature death? Either way, it was never going to be easy but I just didn’t quite expect it to be that hard. It is a difficult, harrowing thing to see someone who was your universe wither and die before your very eyes. The speed of the entire, wicked process amazes me to this day. You have good days and bad days, mostly bad. After a long time, the good days outnumber the bad and you can look back on their lives with a freshness that wasn’t there before. I am an only child and I

despite his penchant for Lambert and Butler fags. He has his grey blue beret pulled tight down over his right eye, making him look even more rakish. He grins as he tells us the scenario: “Right, you are all in Afghanistan and you have taken a casualty. This kinda shite could happen so don’t mess aboot.” We have what is called a poncho in the army – it’s a large rectangular tarpaulin-type sheet which is often used to make a shelter. We are also given some thin rope. We have to get the casualty

Boilersuits And Grenades “Military men are the scourges of the world” – Guy de Maupassant MY final hurdle before basic training was held at the Army Development and Selection Centre, or ADSC in the acronym-mad military world. Within a couple of hours of arrival, I had my pants around my ankles while a bespectacled, middle-age female doctor cupped my testicles, ordering me to cough. Quite an introduction to the selection process. I got up at dawn that morning to get a lift through to the

After half-an-hour, my legs were like jelly but the session was over. After we were escorted back to the main building, we sat in the TV room for hour after mind-numbing hour. More ‘hurry up and wait’, the Army speciality. By the end of the afternoon, I had seen enough Deal or No Deal repeats to last a lifetime. Our evening meal in the cookhouse was uneventful, munching away in silence. As I cleared away my plate, my pal, the ginger PTI, blasted: “Aye, ahm watching you! Ah bet ye have got a

headdress, standing out among the hordes of leisure-suited tourists and well-heeled business types. Walking through the terminal, I do a double take as I see an unexpected familiar face. Fiora, one of the Record’s picture editors, is just getting past security after having her handbag checked. I smile and wave. She hesitates, unsure of this uniformed person waving like a maniac. It takes a few seconds for her to recognise me despite the fact that when I was in the newsroom I would see her almost

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