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Soldier's NATO patrol

A SOUTH Yorkshire soldier was among British servicemen who joined troops from around the world for a tough challenge.

Private Richard Kelly, aged 20, from North Anston, was part of an eight-man team from Third Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment which took part in Exercise Cambrian Patrol, regarded as one of the most prestigious patrolling tests within NATO.

This year's event involved a total of 328 soldiers, including 45 teams from the full-time British Army, UK Territorial Army teams and entrants from foreign armies.

All teams were pitting their wits, strength and endurance against some of the toughest terrain on offer in the mountainous Welsh countryside.

Pte Kelly, a former pupil at St Bernard's School, Herringthorpe, said his team were as fit as they could be for the event. They were one of three groups from the battalion which successfully completed the course.

Describing preparations, he said: "We worked for several weeks on the specific skills and lessons we knew would be tested on the patrol. We also hammered the fitness side of things, practising carrying more weight than usual over longer distances."

Exercise Cambrian Patrol was first staged in 1959 as a long distance marching competition over the Cambrian mountains, and has been continuously updated to meet modern day challenges.

Eight-man teams have to yomp a distance of 50km, carrying full personal kit and additional equipment weighing up to 60lbs, on a two-day patrolling mission within a realistic scenario against advancing enemy patrols.

Navigating by day and night and linking up with friendly agents en-route, they face many testing and specialist challenges, including observation and reconnaissance of enemy forces, cold river crossings in full kit without access to boats and defensive shooting under attack.

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