Documenting the Afghan campaign

Captain Jo Timmermann is the Officer Commanding the Combat Camera Team for Operation HERRICK 12. With Sergeant Tom Robinson on camera, and Corporal Barry Lloyd taking stills the three travel together throughout Afghanistan collecting multimedia stories about the British forces for distribution to all media outlets. In this post she writes about the challenges of life as a roving news team.

Captain Jo Timmermann and Sergeant Tom Robinson at work

Captain Jo Timmermann and Sergeant Tom Robinson at work

We’ve been in Afghanistan for six weeks now and have settled into life as a roving news team.

We were out on the ground with some of 11 Light Brigade’s troops just before they returned home. This was good as it gave us a chance to get used to patrolling and pick up some of the hints and tips from the existing troops. We soon got stuck in, as on our first job with the Royal Welsh we covered a Counter Improvised Explosive Device Team dealing with two roadside bombs. Then on Easter Sunday the team experienced our first firefight with insurgents whilst on another IED clearance patrol. We were pleased that everyone was okay.

The combat camera team for Operation HERRICK 12

The combat camera team for Operation HERRICK 12

We then spent some time with the Coldstream Guards as troops from 1 MERCIAN came to replace them in the region of Babaji. By this time the poppy harvest was in full swing, which saw a marked reduction in insurgent activity on the ground. It is very surreal seeing and walking through fields and fields of poppy, given this stuff is the cause of so many problems in Afghanistan and countries around the world.

Whilst with the Guards we got to cover a helicopter assault, to clear insurgents from a nearby village. We went in with the ground troops, which involved the usual patrolling through irrigation ditches up to your neck in water. Well done to Sergeant Robinson for saving his video camera from a dunking, whilst the rest of him and his kit went under. The joint operation with Afghan security forces resulted in some great pictures of the helis coming in and the troops interacting with locals. The kids out here love the camera and it is a great way to break the ice with locals if you can take their picture.