South Yorkshire soldiers in training for war

Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
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A Barnsley soldier has left his one month old baby at home to take part in the Army’s biggest training exercise of the year.

Corporal Paul Barrett is among 2,000 soldiers from regiments across the UK taking part in the Army’s biggest training exercise of the year.

But to complete the two month deployment, named Operation Prairie Storm, 27-year-old Cpl Barrett was forced to leave his newborn son at home.

It is the second time he has had to make such a sacrifice after being deployed to Afghanistan for a second time when his daughter, now two, was just six weeks old.

Those taking part include the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, the King’s Royal Hussars, the Royal Engineers, the Royal Artillery and the Royal Household Cavalry.

Cpl Barrett said: “Being out in the field you do miss home and especially at the moment I’m thinking about my girlfriend Emma back home with the kids.

“I haven’t been able to see pictures on the internet or talk with home - although that’s mainly because I’m a tight Yorkshireman and I don’t want to pay the phone bill.

“It is hard but it’s part of Army life. I’m looking forward to getting home and spending some proper time with my family.”

Fellow platoon member Private Sam Ward, 23, from Rotherham, joined the Army three years ago.

He spent five weeks in Afghanistan in 2012 but has never been deployed on a full tour of duty.

“This is about the closest I’ve got to an operational tour,” he said.

“I’m enjoying it because I’m getting to put my skills into practise and it’s good for getting a lot tighter as a unit.”

The training exercise in Canada involves live firing and laser-based battles to ensure troops are ready for action should a conflict break out.

Around 2,000 soldiers along with hundreds of tanks and other vehicles are kitted out with laser guns and hi-tech sensors, which give readings to show who would have been shot or which vehicles would have been damaged in a real battle.

Commanders can review the performance of troops in the field at the end of the exercise.