THE 2 Signals unit from Imphal Barracks in York is spread around Afghanistan in its role to provide technical support for all the communications equipment in the country.

Julie Hayes visited Afghanistan to meet them in their different roles.

In Kandahar, the unit is responsible for ensuring equipment works all over the country, including fixing and collecting kit, such as radio and computer communications, between bases and the front line.

Members are also sent out to size up a location before a camp is established there, and to install all the communications equipment it needs, and remove it once the camp is taken down.

Sergeant David Turnbull has been out here for three weeks. The 31-year-old, who is originally from Selby, says he has not been required to go out into the front line yet.

"It's always there in the back of your mind that you're going to have to do something like that," he says. "But that's predominantly what you join the army for."

Sgt Turnbull says he misses his wife Kim and two children Josh, nine, and Aimee, eight, in Strensall, and he cannot wait to see them when he gets home. This is likely to be January, although, if they are really lucky, they may get to go home before Christmas, he says.

"It's more raw at the beginning and it gets easier to cope as time goes on.

"Then as you get closer towards the end, you're looking forward to getting home."

He says his wife is getting more used to him going away after he has been in the army for 13 years.

"The kids before didn't really understand, but they're now at the age where they know I'm away, so for the first time they feel they miss their dad.

"But they seem to be coping. I probably cope worse than them."

He says they are given phonecards, which enable them to talk on the phone for half an hour a week and he uses Skype and MSN to get in touch as much as possible.

"You learn to cope with it better, rather than it getting easier.

"I try and talk to them as often as possible." But like most of the soldiers I've spoken to, Sgt Turnbull wouldn't do anything else.

"I love it really. There wasn't really anything else going for me when I joined the army and the stuff I have done since I've been in the army has been so much more than I ever would have done."