Wednesday, 31 March 2010

HRH Prince Charles visits Australian and New Zealand troops in Afghanistan

The website of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) reported on the visit HRH The Prince of Wales paid to Afghanistan on 24th March 2010.

Prince Charles met with senior ISAF officers as well as Australian, New Zealand and British troops in Kabul before travelling to Helmand in a show of support to the British forces in the southern province.

HRH is the most senior member of the Royal Family to visit Afghanistan.

Australian and New Zealand troops at the ISAF HQ in Kabul with His Royal Highness Prince Charles during a surprise visit by the Prince of Wales to Afghanistan in late March.
L-R: SGT Mike Havill (RNZAF), CPL Chris Crooks, CPL Trish Reynolds (RAAF), SGT Wayne Morley, COL John Mackenzie, SQNLDR Tony Peck (not very clear on HRH right shoulder) HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, WO2 Bruce Hillary, MAJGEN Ash Power, CAPT Sarah Hawke, MAJ Les D'Monte, LTCOL Mike Duncan (NZ Army), MAJ Peter Mortimer (NZ Army).

Explaining the reason for his visit, Prince Charles said:

"The main reason is that I admire deeply the Armed Forces and support what they are doing wherever I possibly can.

"The other thing also is that I have quite a large number of regiments of which I am colonel-in-chief; there are all sorts of other units in the force in which I try to take an interest. So while my people are out here I wanted to come and see them and sadly it has been difficult up until this time.

"So I am thrilled to have got here at last because I just wanted to see the kind of conditions they were in and also to try to generally take an interest and encourage."

Speaking about the difficulties faced by the families of those on operations Prince Charles added:

"It's a very, very worrying time for all the families when their loved ones are out here. As we know, particularly The Rifles have been having a bloody awful time in Sangin, which is obviously a particularly difficult area, and my heart goes out to them and their families.

"We're standing here with a memorial in the background to all those people who have given their lives for this country.

"And interestingly the elders I met today, all of them have been expressing immense appreciation for the fact that they have died, they were saying we'll never forget them.

"For the families, I know when my youngest son was out here, as a parent you worry the whole time. If you're out here, perhaps you're getting on with everything so it's not the same. But for everybody left behind it's ghastly.

"But having said that, the families are the most wonderful support for their loved ones. That's what they do so magnificently, and we're very lucky indeed to have so many families who have, for instance, two or three sons in the Armed Forces and go on for several generations. It makes me incredibly proud of what they do out here."

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