Politician swaps chamber for warzone

THIS is the first picture of an Ipswich politician who is today serving on the frontline in Afghanistan after being called out of retirement.

THIS is the first picture of an Ipswich politician who is today serving on the frontline in Afghanistan after being called out of retirement.

Alasdair Ross, who represents Rushmere on Ipswich Borough Council, arrived in the battle zone last month and has been keeping a blog to update everyone on what he is doing.

He is now in one of the main towns in the Helmand Province and describes his basic living conditions, such as having no running water in the camp.

Mr Ross, of Lonsdale Close, Ipswich, spent 24 years with the infantry regiment Royal Green Jackets, serving on the frontline in various battle zones such as Northern Ireland and Kosovo.

When he retired at 40, he got a job at Ipswich School coaching sports and then joined the Labour party, before being elected as a ward councillor last year.

But when, at the age of 46, he got a call to return to duty because of his specialist intelligence and reconnaissance skills, he agreed straight away.

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He returned to his former regiment, now known as the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, based in County Down, Northern Ireland, and after a three-month training course to refresh his skills, he was posted to Afghanistan to help the situation out there.

In his latest blog, he stated: “The camp has no running hot water but we have improvised a bore hole to provide fresh water and we have boilers on constantly to provide hot water to wash in and wash clothes.

“We also have the river running through the camp so you often find it full of soldiers either washing or swimming or just cooling down as we reach temperatures over 30

“We live in Hesco houses, like a modern sandbag house, six to eight a house, but they do feel like home with improvised tables and chairs and our own little space made by our campbed/mosquito net combination.

“But the main thing, here it does feel like we are making a difference in this country.”

Do you know someone in the armed forces and have a story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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