Back home for summer
A FORMER Helena Romanes School pupil has just returned to the UK after fighting on the front line with 3 Commando Brigade on Operation Herrick 5. Nick Maynard, known as Harry to his friends, has returned to the UK having spent six months in the Helmand P
A FORMER Helena Romanes School pupil has just returned to the UK after fighting on the front line with 3 Commando Brigade on Operation Herrick 5.
Nick Maynard, known as Harry to his friends, has returned to the UK
having spent six months in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.
He said: "I had always wanted to join the army and was always keen on sports, so I knew exactly what I wanted to do."
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This was his first deployment in Afghanistan and he said he found his time out there enjoyable: "I got to see several different places in the country.
"Some of the people were friendly but others clearly didn't like us being there so it was quite a mixture.
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"I'm very pleased to be back and stepping off that plane and knowing I was back in England was fantastic. You forget how beautiful and green this country is.
"My mother, father and brother were delighted to see me back and I managed to get to see them at the weekend. Luckily, a cousin had a birthday so I was able to catch up with everyone and enjoy a few beers at the same time."
Harry joined the army straight after leaving school doing his training at the Army Foundation College at Harrogate.
He volunteered to serve with the Commandos and completed the arduous Commando Course before joining his regiment in 2004.
He now works as a Command Post Signaller in 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, which provides artillery fire for all of the Royal Marines' operations throughout the Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan.
In September 2006 he was promoted to Lance Bombardier in time for the regiment's departure for Afghanistan where he soon found out how important his training was.
During Operation Glacier, an operation to push the Taliban out of the town of Garmsir, he volunteered to go on a patrol with the Afghan National Police.
"The patrol had barely left the town centre when we were were ambushed by Taliban fighters," he said.
As the Afghan Police wavered LBdr Maynard reacted quickly and began to suppress the enemy with his heavy machine gun.
This immediate response gave the ANP the time to organise themselves and they too began to return fire until the remaining Taliban made a rapid withdrawal.
Now he is safely back in the UK, LBdr Maynard says he is looking forward to going to watch his beloved Arsenal play and says, now he is back in the country
for 18 months, he is hoping to buy a season ticket for next season.
"I really just want to say a big thank you to my Mum, Dad, brother and my friends who wrote to me and kept in contact while I was out there.
"It means so much to receive letters and is a big step up in moral when you are feeling low.