Many of the lads I speak to, especially the young ones, are embarrassed to talk about their fear and family.

It's easier to put on a brave face and banter with their friends.

Except for one friend, whose job in the army is to listen to troops and provide comfort.

Each unit has a padre, who visits the troops in the camp as well as in the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), smaller bases of patrolling soldiers on the ground.

They provide an outlet for stories, worries or just a friendly chat and they do favours for soldiers, finding them little things they miss from home, such as Pringles or Ribena.

They're comforting to talk to, even for me. Chatting over tea in the chapel at Camp Bastian, they ask as many questions about me as I do them.

The first room in the chapel has comfy chairs and the walls are lined with books. Bible study sessions are held here twice a week. In the back section, plastic chairs are lined up like pews. A spiral of barbed wire hangs from the ceiling like a crown of thorns and an altar is laid out for services, of which there are four on Sundays.

We join the padres during one of their regular get togethers. Someone has to care for the carers too, I'm told.

One of the padres shows me a board with 49 photos pinned to it, alongside a cross and quote from the book of John: "Greater love has no one than this..." (15:13) These are British soldiers lost during Operation Herrick 12. It's higher than expected and the padre is downhearted as he adds the 50th photo to the wall - that of Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, who was shot in an exchange of fire with insurgents on August 21.

My host points out one of his unit on the board. The different badges show the respective units and the range of soldiers lost. It is also easy to see which units have had a particularly tough tour.