Thoughts return to home this Christmas

Cpl Paul Birkett

Cpl Paul Birkett

Corporal Paul Birkett is a Communications Systems Operator (CS Op) currently stationed with 1st United Kingdom Armoured Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment (1 (UK) ADSR) based in Herford, Germany. He recently deployed on Op HERRICK 15 where he is employed as Communications Centre (COMMCEN) Operator/Commcen IC.

He is responsible for transmitting, receiving and distributing messages within Main Operating Base (MOB) Lashkar Gah. Secondary duties include providing support via telephone to outstations around the area and monitoring the communications systems.

Below freezing

During December the temperature has dropped rapidly. In our accommodation which was lovely and air conditioned during the summer, the thermostat has now been changed over to heat the room in order to keep us warm. A few of the lads were reluctant to get out of bed in the mornings as it was below freezing, but we are just happy to have some heating, as most Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) do not.

The time has also come where members of the Troop are starting to depart on their two-week Rest and Recuperation (R&R). The two-week break back home enables us to relax and catch up with friends and family. The first two personnel to go are Cpl Andy Southwood and SSgt Paul Smith who will be home for Christmas. For Sgt Taff Lewis this will be a relief as he will be getting much needed respite from the daily banter which has been relentless since our arrival in theatre.

Sgt Lewis and LCpl Andrews have had to deploy out to a number of the Patrol Bases (PBs) that we are responsible for, in order to do some equipment upgrades and engineering checks. LCpl Andrews was not too impressed as he struggled to keep warm during the road moves; as an open top Jackal is not the warmest of vehicles in December. Maybe he should go onto a crash weight gain diet as there is hardly anything to him.

Striped pyjamas

We had a rather interesting and amusing morning last week when the boss and I were awoken by an explosion. I jumped out of bed cursing, but I was glad I made it up first, as I managed to see the startled boss don his helmet. He left the body armour off preferring his striped pyjamas instead – very dashing I must say. We then realised it was not so close to our location, but some 500m away.

Christmas is now approaching fast and becoming more noticeable as the gifts and presents are starting to fill our communications equipment room. LCpl Chris Simpson is organising a day’s activities for the Troop on Christmas Day to keep us full of spirits and entertained. I’m sure we will have fun on the festive day, although our thoughts will be with our families back home.

I would like to say a happy Christmas to my darling girlfriend Carol and sorry for not being home.

19 thoughts on “Thoughts return to home this Christmas

  1. If you ever need me and want me to go over to highlite even more what our guys are doing my camera is ready.

    Ian Clark

    24849696/ex Royal Engineer


  2. Merry Christmas to all the guys and women out there, stay safe and have a lovely new year. Hope you get to go home soon. THANKYOU for all that you do to keep us safe .


  3. To all of you our there, Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Get the Top Brass to declare ‘Rum Rations be broken out’ that will keep you all warm.



  4. Paul and troops

    i really do hope that you all have a good Christmas, i am sure i speak for everyone who has family and friends away fighting for our country over Christmas, you are all hero’s. Paul you are also my knight in shinning armour and keeping me strong while your away…. keep fighting guys and keep strong, we all waiting for your safe return. My thought will also be with the families and friends of all soldiers who paid the ultimate price for their country, carol x x


  5. A very merry Christmas to the troops and to everyone away from home serving in foreign countries. I am from Fiji and there are many local guys in the Forces who are currently stationed all over the place. We miss them terribly over Xmas and wish they were back home in the warm tropics. We love you all so very much – thinking of you Isaac xx

    Love always……..Mia xox.


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