A brother and sister from Brighton have spent two months serving together in Afghanistan.
Ed Stewart, 30, and Henri Stewart, 32, both privates in the Territorial Army, are due to return home soon after serving with the 3rd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Volunteers).
They were mobilised in September last year and posted to the Nad-e Ali district of central Helmand, southern Afghanistan.
Ed, a rifleman, and Henri, a medic, were deployed apart at first and met just five times but they have spent the past few months on tour together.
The reason is that a growing number of bases are being handed over to the Afghans’ own security forces.
As a result the Stewarts have both been at the Forward Operating Base Shawqat, surrounded by the mud walls of an ancient fort built by the British more than 200 years ago.
The pair joined the TA three years ago and are on the first operational deployment in Afghanistan.
Ed, who works as an undertaker for Co-operative Funeral Care, said: “Apart from the mickey-taking from my mates for having my sister here, it hasn’t been too bad and it’s great to have family around.
“It’s not quite what I expected. We have worked closely with the Afghans over the last six months and I have seen the Afghans take on more and more of the security which is a good thing as it’s their country.”
Henri, an office manager in Brighton for headhunting firm Carpenter Faraday, said: “I have enjoyed my role as a medic and I have met some really interesting people on the tour.
“I don’t really know what I was expecting from this tour. It has been busy and as a medic I am constantly prepared to assist if required.
“It would have been harder for me to be at home with my brother out here. I can keep an eye on him whereas Mum and Dad can’t.
“We are both looking forward to getting home and having a drink together when we are back in Brighton.”
The military life runs in the Stewart family. When the pair joined the TA they were following in the footsteps of their father.
And their younger brother Alex is due to start at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst later this year.
Britain currently has about 8,000 servicemen and women in Afghanistan, mostly in Helmand Province. The number will fall to about 5,200 by the end of the year.