News story

Duke raises morale with Afghanistan visit

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Personnel in Camp Bastion and Kandahar Airfield receive morale boosting visit from His Royal Highness Duke of York.

The Duke of York’s visit to Camp Bastion and Kandahar Airfield comes as UK combat troops work towards the end of operations in Afghanistan.

Personnel from all 3 services, and supporting civilians, met with the Duke, who arrived in Afghanistan yesterday, 28 July, to discuss their varied roles. These roles include the redeployment of equipment and the maintenance of force protection as the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) lead offensive operations on the ground. The redeployment continues to happen in tandem with NATO partners including the US Marine Corps.

During today’s part of the visit, the Duke met senior commanders who updated him on campaign progress since his previous visit to Bastion in November, including the continued move to expeditionary conditions ahead of the conclusion of combat operations by the end of the year.

The Duke then attended the state-of-the-art Role 3 Hospital where he praised the first-rate medical care for injured service personnel from all coalition nations, and thanked the Medical Emergency Response Team for the part they have played in providing support to troops on the ground.

Speaking to personnel, the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, said:

The medical advances made at the Hospital in Camp Bastion over the last few years are just outstanding – I know some of the people who have been through here and I’ve seen them on a number of occasions. The trauma expertise that you’ve been able to develop here and take back to the NHS is remarkable. It is a very valuable service that you provide, so thank you very much indeed. I hope the rest of your tour goes well.

The Duke of York surveys the view during his visit to Aghanistan
The Duke of York surveys the view during his visit to Aghanistan [Picture: Corporal Chantelle Cooke RAF, Crown copyright]

The Duke of York, a former pilot in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, was particularly interested to meet aviators from the Joint Aviation Group and men and women from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, who manage Bastion’s vast airfield. He received a detailed brief on air traffic control which, at its peak, was reported to be the UK’s fifth busiest tower.

The Duke of York later met soldiers from the Manoeuvre Battle Group, hearing their experiences of patrolling outside the perimeter of Bastion to protect the base from insurgent attack.

Lieutenant Colonel Will Davies, Commanding Officer of the Manoeuvre Battle Group Brigade Advisory Team, said:

It’s not every day that you meet a member of the Royal Family. To meet the Duke of York in the middle of Helmand is really something. I know that the Queen’s Dragoon Guards’ soldiers really enjoyed speaking to him and chatting about how this place is changing. This will be his last visit here and we are really grateful to him for coming so close to the end.

He subsequently lunched with men and women from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Artillery.

After a short flight to Kandahar Airfield the Duke of York met with British Army and Royal Air Force personnel who provide support to operations in the South of Afghanistan. Highlights included a visit to 9 Squadron, the resident Tornado squadron, which provides vital reconnaissance support to the ANSF. Prior to leaving Afghanistan, he also took the opportunity to thank troops at the Tactical Air Transportation Detachment for their contribution.