Chaplain offers support on front line

IPSWICH: For thousands of British troops in Afghanistan, a chaplain from Ipswich has been the person they turn to during one of the most difficult summers they have faced.

IPSWICH: For thousands of British troops in Afghanistan, a chaplain from Ipswich has been the person they turn to during one of the most difficult summers they have faced.

Rev (Wing Commander) Andrew Turner, 57, is currently serving in Afghanistan, where he ministers at Kandahar Airfield. He also assists at Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, the main British military base in the country.

Padre Andrew started his working life training to be a solicitor, followed by a job as an administrative assistant for the Ipswich Health District but started ordination training at St John's College in Nottingham in 1980.

After his ordination in 1983, he spent several years serving as Rector in East Suffolk parishes before joining the Royal Air Force in 1991.


You may also want to watch:


Padre Andrew said: “In the military, there is an automatic inclusivity and acceptance that comes with the uniform. A chaplain works outside the chain of command which encourages all ages and ranks to come and talk to you.

“Recently, I had a 19-year-old approach me to chat about some issues that were concerning him - this wouldn't happen as a parish priest.”

Most Read

As senior chaplain, he coordinates the 14 chaplains deployed in Helmand. His role out on operations is to provide pastoral support and advise commanders.

This is not his first time on operations, having served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

In spite of the difficult summer experienced by British Forces in Afghanistan, Andrew has many happy memories from his tour.

“As part of the Armed Forces, you feel like a member of a family. And even at my age, I don't feel old, just part of the team.”

He went to Ipswich School, and his mother, Jean, still lives in the town. He has three children - James, 33, Paul, 32, Timothy, 28, and now a grandchild, Joseph, one.

Asked what he hopes for when he returns home in November, Padre Andrew said: “I have missed my wife, Liz, and family, while I have been away.

“The first thing I will do when I get back home is give Liz a cuddle, and then have a pint of Broadside, a walk on a Norfolk beach and some proper fish and chips in newspaper.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter