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Respects paid to RAF airmen in funeral cortege

Flight Lieutenants Geraint Roberts and Alan Scott lost their lives in Kabul, Afghanistan Credit: MoD

They were described as two of the most capable and dedicated members of the air force. Today two flight lieutenants based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, were flown home.

Hundreds of people lined the streets as the bodies of Alan Scott of 33 Squadron Royal Air Force and Geraint Roberts of 230 Squadron Royal Air Force were brought through Brize Norton. Our reporter Chris Maughan was there.

The interviewees are Councillor Lynn Little, the Mayor of Carterton and Steve Blundell of the Royal British Legion Riders Branch.

Repatriation of soldiers to RAF Brize Norton underway

Flight Lieutenants Geraint Roberts and Alan Scott lost their lives in Afghanistan Credit: MoD

A military aircraft is carrying the bodies of Flight Lieutenant Alan Scott of 33 Squadron Royal Air Force and Flight Lieutenant Geraint Roberts of 23 Squadron Royal Air Force back to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

The two men from the base were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week.

Three others also died when the Puma Mark Two attempted to land in Kabul.


Former soldiers asked how 'civvy street' measures up

Readjusting to civilian life can be challenging for former military personnel

A new survey has been launched to find out how well former soldiers have adapted to civilian life.

The Kent and Medway Civilian Partnership board wants to hear from the one hundred and twenty nine thousand or so former servicemen and servicewomen who live across the county of Kent. The organisation is made up of representatives from local government in Kent and Medway, the armed forces, and service charities.

The questions asked include issues such as - how well the veterans are adapting to 'civvy street', how they contribute to the local community, and whether they feel well supported within their local communities.

The form is available to complete online from Friday 5th June, and the closing date for filling in the survey is 31st July 2015. The overall findings and results of the research will be published in early 2016.

"In Kent we have over 2,600 serving personnel and 412 reservists who we know we can reach with this survey.

"But we are keen on tracking down ex-service personnel who we have no way of knowing where they are and how their lives have changed.

"The survey will remain anonymous though we do ask for a postcode to help us map needs and opportunities.

"By taking part in this survey, it will help us shape where and how resources can be focused for people associated with the armed forces.

"We want to make sure the Kent and Medway Civilian Military Partnership Board have as much information as possible to inform their decision making."

– Jayne Collier-Smith, Kent County Council Project Manager

Sewing 'could help soldiers' mental health issues'

Sewing requires skill and attention

A soldier from Salisbury enjoys sewing so much that he is now determined to encourage others to take up the pass time.

Lieutenant Colonel Neil State believes it could help veterans with mental health problems overcome their issues. His belief centres around the fact that creating something can give people a boost, and a sense of fulfillment.

"I've done everything from modifying ammo pouches to carry mortar bombs, sniper suits and then making curtains for soldiers' accommodation and of course as you heard in Bosnia I actually started making my driver's wedding dress and then in Afghanistan was helping the female engagement teams with the US Marine Corps to teach Afghan ladies how to sew."

– Lieutenant Colonel Neil State
Col Lt State has been spreading the word about sewing's therapeutic benefits


MOD unveils next generation aircraft at RAF Brize Norton

The first of the UK’s A400M Atlas next-generation military transport aircraft has today been officially unveiled by the MOD at its new home at RAF Brize Norton.

The aircraft will replace the existing fleet of C-130 Hercules which have been the tried and trusted workhorse of the RAF’s Air Transport Fleet for decades.

Manufactured by Airbus Defence & Space, A400M Atlas will represent major advances on its predecessor, capable of flying almost twice as fast, twice as far and carrying almost twice as much cargo.

With a cargo capacity of 32 tonnes and a hold optimised for carriage of heavy vehicles, helicopters or cargo pallets, the aircraft is capable of supporting a wide range of operational scenarios.

The UK is the third country to operate the aircraft, after France and Turkey and the £2.8bn programme will see a total of 22 aircraft delivered to the RAF in the coming years.

The A400M Atlas military aircraft Credit: UK Crown Copyright 2014
The A400M Atlas military aircraft Credit: UK Crown Copyright 2014
The A400M Atlas military aircraft Credit: UK Crown Copyright 2014

British troops end combat operations in Afghanistan

The UK has handed over control of Camp Bastion in Helmand province to Afghan security forces. The move marks the end of the British military presence in the country.

Troops from across the Meridian region were among those serving in Afghanistan in a operation that spanned over a decade. In that time 453 troops lost their lives.

The last Union flag of Great Britain flying above the skies of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, is lowered. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The last Union flag of Great Britain flying in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, is lowered by Captain Matthew Clark, left, and Warrant Officer 1 John Lilley. The Union flag will be returned to the UK by Brigadier Rob Thomson, after a ceremony at Camp Bastion signifying the end of combat operations in Helmand by British and ISAF forces.

Royal Military Academy celebrates Freedom of Borough

Hundreds of people have lined the streets of Camberley to see the officers and staff from the Royal Military Academy (RMA) at Sandhurst march through the town centre in an historic parade.

The 250 personnel from the RMA, including a military band were celebrating being granted the Freedom of the Borough by Surrey Heath Borough Council. The honour gives them the right to march on ceremonial occasions. The event also commemorated the centenary of World War One. Richard Slee reports.

The interviewee is Major General Stuart Skeates, Commandant, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

£250m military college to be built in Hampshire

The new military college will be based at Worthy Down in Hampshire Credit: Press Association Images

A £250m training college is to be built for the Armed Forces, Defence Minister Andrew Murrison has announced. The Defence College of Logistics, Policing and Administration in Worthy Down, Hampshire, will focus on services such as catering, supply, transport and military human resources.

It will provide living accommodation for up to 2,000 students and staff. Dr Murrison described it as a place where people from all three military services can 'live and learn'. Construction is to begin in late 2014 and is expected to be completed by late 2018.

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