AboutOn operations there are very few home comforts but soldiers are resourceful and once in a location it is only a matter of hours before they make that space their own. Limited by what they can carry in their bergens, military rucksacks, soldiers are skilled in taking what they can find in their environment and making life more comfortable. Bed spaces will be personalised and kit is adapted, dogs become pets and small gardens are created. Where ever they are, soldiers will make the most of their lot, however basic
In her forthcoming photographic exhibition, 'Make Do and Mend', award winning Terriotorial Army Sergeant Alison Baskerville, 36, has captured images of these off duty moments. Sergeant Baskerville returned this summer from a tour in Afghanistan to win two categories, Professional Portrait and Professional Operational Image, in the Annual Army Photographic Competition. Gallery 150, Leamington Spa, is being transformed with pictures, props and materials that will give you a flavour of Army life on operations.
Sergeant Alison Baskerville served out in Afghanistan as a member of the Combat Camera Team which meant she was out on the ground, sometimes for days or weeks at a time, recording the 'on and off' duty moments of life in a tough environment.
"We see lots of pictures, photographs of soldiers living and working in the field but much of life on operations, as one soldier described it to me is '99% boredom and 1% chaos!'. I was intrigued to capture the other side of life in Afghanistan, the way soldiers improvise every day objects to make life more comfortable, how they cope with boredom, add humour and live through the separation from their friends and families. When you start looking, you suddenly see moments of thoughtfulness, how people spend their 'down time' and the interaction with the Afghan people." Said Sergeant Alison Baskerville.
"We are delighted that Sergeant Baskerville has chosen to support The Royal British Legion with her photographic exhibition. Her images are incredible and she brings an insight into the life of a soldier while he is away from home which will resonate with many of our servicemen and women and their families. It is also very poignant that the exhibition launches during this year's Poppy Appeal. In this, our 90th year, it is more important than ever that we recognise the commitment made by our military personnel." Said Russell Thompson OBE, Director of National Events and Fundraising at The Royal British Legion.
The funds raised will be donated to The Royal British Legion Battle Back Centre for sports and adventurous training, which helps injured soldiers to recover and regain their confidence.
More than £1.4 million a week or over £200,000 a day is spent by the Legion on its work helping over 160,000 members of the Armed Forces Family serving, ex-Service and their dependants.