LCpl Hylands is currently serving with 8 Troop, 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron (AES) on Operation HERRICK 17. 73 AES deployed along with the rest of 21 Engineer Regiment as part of Task Force Helmand Engineer Group, at the beginning of September 2012 on Op HERRICK 17.
21 Engineer Regiment from Ripon, North Yorkshire is made up of two Close Support Squadrons and a Headquarters Squadron. LCpl Hylands is part of Close Support Squadron 1 which covers the northern areas of operation of Task Force Helmand (TFH).
The Regiment has been augmented by members of the Territorial Army, LCpl Hylands is one such solider. His home unit is 202 Field Squadron (Failsworth), which he joined in 2000. He has chosen to take a year off work in order to deploy to Helmand, the year started off with mobilisation and basic refresher training before joining 21 Engineer Regiment for the latter part of pre-deployment training, pre-tour leave and then deployment. Upon return to the UK, LCpl Hylands will have six weeks leave before returning back to civilian life.
LCpl Hylands is no stranger to the military life growing up in a military family with a father serving in the Royal Engineers. However he chose not to pursue a full-time military career, instead he went for the part-time option encompassing a civilian employment with a reservist career. James now works as an engineering team leader in charge of 16 maintenance engineers in a high-volume fast moving industry. His employer Marshalls Building and Materials Company have been very cooperative in releasing him to serve in Helmand, holding his job open for his return.
James from Shaw, Oldham is married to Carla, with whom he has two children who each provide a lot of support from home. In his spare time he is a keen runner and likes nothing more than walking the dogs across the moors, when he gets time.
Enlisting into the Royal Engineer Territorial Army at Failworth Barracks, he then completed his Phase 1 training at local northwest camps and his combat engineering training at Gibraltar Barracks, Surrey, where he passed out in May 2000. He has attended annual yearly camps in Germany, Cyprus, Scotland and when a chance came for an operational tour with 21 Engineer Regiment he jumped at the chance.
5 January 2013
Doing what Engineers do best: bridging
“9 troop lads have been really busy in this place in the past couple of months shutting down PBs and Check Points (CPs) within the area, constantly working out on the ground, sometimes under small arms attack; whilst performing their daily tasks. Everyone seems to have a different story to tell, but they have genuinely enjoyed being there and have worked strong as a team, which was evident to me instantly.”
3 December 2012
Home comforts in Patrol Base Clifton
“PB life is a mixed bag of events to be honest; you have to experience it to appreciate the effects it can have. The full spectrum of emotions which humans display are touched in one way or another, from the highs of completing a task or being a dangerous environment to the lows of missing friends and family at home, all are experienced from one day to another here.”
26 November 2012
Good plans don’t always go to plan
“In a world of ‘hi-viz’ and ‘health and safety’, it brought a smile to my face to see vehicles which resembled something out of the TV series scrap heap challenge! Things were falling apart, leaking and patched up, but the trucks worked and, more to the point, delivered what we needed.”
6 November 2012
Golden Egg – the laying of a bridge
“Running around in 20kg body armour or carrying your holiday suitcase with you at all times in heat of 25 deg lifting and moving heavy bridge parts in record time will have the desired results you are looking for! Physically and mentally demanding but extremely rewarding when complete is the best way of selling it.
23 October 2012
LCpl Hylands and his colleages have arrived at Patrol Base Clifton and are busy winterising the camp and settling in.