Army reservists swapped rain-lashed South Yorkshire for equatorial Africa – helping to train Ugandan troops.
Corporal Muhammad Abu Qaoud and Warrant Officer II Leon Egbury, of Fourth Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were part of a 30-strong team.
The pair spent 11 days in temperatures of up to 32C, testing members of the Ugandan People’s Defence Force before they cross into Somalia to run peacekeeping operations.
Both men are from Barnsley, but other members of 4 Yorks are based in Sheffield.
Cpl Qaoud is a machinist at an electronics factory in his civilian life but commands eight men in his Army Reserve role.
The 32-year-old, who joined up 12 years ago when at college, said: “My job has been teaching Ugandan soldiers how to spot roadside bombs.
“The fact some of these lads are going to survive because of things we have taught makes this job very gratifying. I love this work.”
Married to Claire, with a two-year-old son, Obaid, he said: “My family obviously miss me and would prefer me to be at home, but my wife knows I love this sort of thing. It adds spice to life.”
Based at UPDF Peace Support Training School at Singo, in the south of Uganda, he and WO2 Egbury were part of a British Army team.
The soldiers helped school a 1,900 strong Ugandan group in counter-insurgency techniques which they will use against Al Shabaab militants in Somalia.
The British team also set the Ugandans a final exam – an intensive, three-day exercise designed to test their new skills to the limit.
WO2 Egbury, aged 39, who is married to Clare and has two children Lydia, seven, and Ayden, six, said: “The soldiers are keen to learn and seem to take our instruction on board. It’s been nice to come here and get some sun during the winter, but I’ll be happy to get back home.”