Mulbarton soldier returns after six-month Afghanistan tour

A Norfolk soldier who is currently serving in Afghanistan is counting down the days until he will be reunited with his family after a gruelling six-month tour in Helmand Province.

Warrant Officer Class 2, Leigh Beuttell, is the Sergeant Major of A Squadron, 9th12th Lancers, who have worked with the Afghan National Security Forces to keep an important 70km (43.5 miles) stretch of road clear of roadside bombs and insurgents.

Working in temperatures of more than 40 degrees, the 37-year-old, from Mulbarton, has been establishing checkpoints, carrying out vehicle searches, and patrolling on foot or by Jackal and Scimitar 2 vehicles to deny insurgents the freedom of movement which would allow them to carry out attacks or plant Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Over the last six months, their work has made the road - known as Highway 1 - safer and traffic has increased, bringing much needed trade and investment to the city of Gereshk.

When not patrolling, the father-of-two has been based at Main Operating Base Price which is home to several international forces.

He said: 'I have really enjoyed seeing some of the young soldiers evolve and I enjoy being exposed to other cultures on a base which we share with Afghans, Danes, Bosnians and Americans.'

After briefly returning to the Lancers' base in Hohne, Germany, WO2 Beuttell will head back home to see his wife Danni and his sons, Thomas, seven, and Oliver, five.

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Although this was his first tour in Afghanistan, he has served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Kuwait since joining the Army in 1992.