After being separated for almost six months brothers Captain Dougie Fraser and Captain Duncan Fraser, from Scotland, have been reunited and will be serving alongside each other for their final two weeks before returning to the United Kingdom.
Dougie (29) has been stationed mainly in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Northern Helmand, while Duncan (27) has been stationed in Nad-e Ali, which is found in the south-west of the province.
The brothers chose different careers with Dougie training as an Army Diver and Duncan training as a teacher and linguist. As an Officer in 33 Engineer Regiment, Dougie leads a search team specializing in finding IEDs and provides advice to other units to help protect them out on the ground. He also gets called out when troops encounter a suspicious device.
Duncan is based with 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, known as the Vikings, in Forward Operating Base Shawqat. The camp is built in and around the ruins of a 19th Century British Fort and is currently home to the headquarters of the Vikings. It is here where the brothers met properly for the first time in their 6 month tour of Afghanistan.
Duncan Fraser said: “In the last six months, I have provided advice to soldiers leaving the Army, taught German, given a plethora of Art lessons and qualified over a hundred soldiers in GCSE Maths and English. Nobody seems to have questioned why a Scotsman is teaching English to East Anglian soldiers in Afghanistan!”
After the brothers were reunited Dougie commented: “Duncan and I have both served with different regiments, doing very different jobs, serving in different parts of this country. Getting the chance to spend the last 10 days of tour living with him is a bonus I really was not expecting. Seeing family in an environment like this is a welcome break; it’s been great to exchange stories and more importantly plan our upcoming holidays.”
Duncan reflected on the chances of two brothers being brought together: “We have only seen each other once in almost 7 months. With nearly ten thousand British troops stationed in Afghanistan the chance of crossing paths was always going to be slim. When I heard my big brother was coming to Nad-e Ali I was glad…it means we can give Mum and Dad a call back in Perth, together, and tell them we managed to eventually meet up!”
Although they do not come from a military family, the brothers' deployment comes almost a century after their Great Grandfather served in World War 1. On the 11th of April 1915 Private Thomas Elliot Eckford arrived in the Ypres Salient on the Western Front with the Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment).
Ninety seven years later both Duncan and Dougie would be on another front, in a very different part of the world, wearing the same uniform. The bible that their Great Grandfather took to that conflict, and carried with him every day, sits by their parent’s bed where it will remain until they both return safely in October.