Joe prepares to march into Civvy Street

HE HAS seen horrors that no young person should ever have to see and after four years fighting for his country, one Suffolk soldier is today preparing to move back to Civvy Street.

HE HAS seen horrors that no young person should ever have to see and after four years fighting for his country, one Suffolk soldier is today preparing to move back to Civvy Street.

Private Joe Tanner-Tremaine, of Days Green, Capel St Mary, will be heading back to the Royal Anglian regiment's training base in Pirbright, Surrey, next week, but hopes to leave by February.

The 24-year-old wants to have a go at living a “civvie life” and is set to enrol on a forestry course in Otley College but added that he will never forget the people he has met or the things he has done.

Private Tanner-Tremaine said: “I will always remember it. It will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have photographs of all my mates out there. They have been part of my life for the last four years.

“It was a bit tough but it is down to individuals about how they handle it.

“I get very bored when I'm not doing anything. When we go back, there won't be another tour for months so it will be quite dull. A few of the other lads are getting out too.”

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After leaving school, the soldier worked at Tesco's for a while before enrolling in the army at the age of 20. He has been on tours to Turkey and Iraq, as well as the regiment's toughest tour to date in Afghanistan. During that tour, Pte John Thrumble, whom he was friends with, was killed alongside Pte Aaron McClure from Ipswich and Robert Foster following a bomb dropped by a US aircraft.

Most tours last six months, with an 18-month gap in between for more training.

Private Tanner-Tremaine, who was part of the D Company, said: “When you hear about a soldier's death, it does come as quite a shock. You think that you are never going to see them again and that is sad.

“When I was Afghanistan, I did see people get hit by missiles and bombs. When we were in Kajaki, we used to get shot at a lot but then the sniper would tell us where to fire and we did. It is a great thrill to use a machine gun. Your whole body shudders and that is something I will miss.”

Private Tanner-Tremaine is not looking forward to leaving the family dog, Sydney, who gave birth to seven puppies just before Christmas.

He added: “I am gutted to be leaving because by the time I get back, they will be all a lot bigger.

“I think my mum is pleased I'm leaving the army though. She'll be glad to have me back home.”

Are you a soldier with a story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “There are manning challenges and shortages in some specific areas, but we are taking action. The latest figures, published in November, shows that recruitment is improving overall. Compared to last year, more people now are completing training and moving into the Armed Forces.

“We have taken significant steps to improve recruitment and retention, including the recently increased operational bonus of £2,320 and a pay rise of 9.2 per cent for junior ranks - the biggest rise in the public sector.

“Retention initiatives are proving to be successful - more than 2000 soldiers have recently signed up to the Infantry Financial Retention Initiative to stay in the Army for an additional two years.”