An army doctor from Rutland had a Christmas break with a difference – travelling to Africa to train soldiers.
Lieutenant Colonel Leon Roberts, 38, caught some winter sun while visiting Uganda with the British Army.
Lt Col Roberts provided medical support for 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
He worked with a team of 28 regular and reserve soldiers who provided training for 1,800 troops from the Ugandan People’s Defence Force.
Lt Col Roberts, who lives in Colsterworth, said: “The training has been fantastic, the most rewarding thing has been working with the army reserve – I’ve been very impressed by their dedication and work ethic. The preparation, training and then execution of the tasks has been to the highest level.”
The British Army training team was deployed to Singo camp in the south of the country to give two weeks of training.
The troops had to endure tropical rainstorms and temperatures of up to 34°C as they delivered combat and counter-insurgency training in rural and urban settings.
They worked alongside soldiers from America, France and Denmark on a range of realistic, intelligence driven exercises.
The Ugandan soldiers were shown not only how to deal with IEDs and defend a convoy from attack but also how to engage with the local community.
They will put this training into practice when they are deployed as part of the African Union Mission to Somalia.
Lt Col Roberts provided medical cover for 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment – with plans in place to evacuate any injured soldiers to hospital in Kenya for surgery.
He is used to making life saving journeys as he works aboard an air ambulance in his spare time regularly attending the scene of accidents and emergencies in a helicopter.
The married father-of-two joked that he is the only person on camp who “it is a good thing if they are bored.”