Few soldiers serving in Afghanistan’s troubled Helmand Province would expect to be employed handling antiques, but that’s exactly what one Fusilier has been doing.
Aaron Gray, a Fusilier with the 1st Battalion, the Royal Welsh, has been tasked with cleaning a World War Two-era Lee Enfield Mk 4 rifle uncovered by troops in Afghanistan.
“I couldn’t believe it when the guys brought it back to our base. It’s a real piece of history,” said Aaron.
“This rifle was made by the Americans during the Second World War and given to their allies. It’s amazing to think about the journey it took to get here to Helmand Province.
“I have been asked to try and clean it up so that we can take it back as a souvenir of our time in Afghanistan.”
Previously blown up
Aaron (24), who has served in Afghanistan twice, returned to the area where previously he was blown up by an Improvised Explosive Device.
“It’s a lot different this time around. It’s quieter and noticeably more secure.
"We don’t have to walk around in body armour all the time and the number and type of incidents show a real improvement. I’m glad because it shows that we have been doing a good job.
Aside from cleaning up the antique rifle, Fusilier Gray’s main task on the tour is to resupply the guys on the ground.
“I enjoy every minute, the blokes are great to be around and it’s nice to do a job I love.
“The worst bit is missing my family and friends, but there’s only three months to go now before I’m home.”