LANCE Corporal Leslie Hartland, from the 14 Signal Regiment, was selected to work for the elite Brigade Reconnaissance Force, carrying out communications.

The 26-year-old from Fulford, York, can’t wait to get back home at the end of September to his mum and sister.

It is his second tour in Afghanistan and he is thrilled to have been selected for the BRF.

“It is probably the best job you could do out here. You get to go where other people don’t and really make contact with the local people.”

Victoria Littmoden is a Craftsman with the Royal Engineers based in Ripon. As one of a small proportion of girls, the 20-year-old says she misses female company but tries to be one of the lads.

Victoria goes out with patrols on road proving and clearing missions as the mechanic to fix the vehicle, whether it’s a HMEE, Mastiff or Bufallo, if it breaks down.

”People overlook the small corps. The engineers are doing a fantastic job out here. It’s like building blocks, take one away and it’s all going to fall.”

The women try to stick together where possible and Corporal Susan Every provides admin support to the engineers from Ripon. She stays in the camp, but would like to experience life beyond the wire.

“I’d like to see what it’s like to see what they’re alltalking about. It’s quite safe and enclosed in some respects in the camp and you don’t know what the guys are doing, how they’re feeling or what the surroundings are like.”

Susan has a nine-year-old son Michael back home, who is in boarding school as his father is also serving in Afghanistan. “It was difficult at first but it gives me more freedom to have more of a career in the army,” she said.

Trooper Liam Bradley, 19, from Malton, prepares his Viking armoured vehicle to go out on patrol, cleaning and maintaining it and packing clothes, food and water.

He sends a message home to mum Rachel Bradley that he’s all right and that he loves her, his dad Tim, his 13-year-old sister Paige and 11-year-old brother Jay, as well as his friend Colleen.

Lance corporal David Smith, 26 from Selby, works in the stores in camp. He fixes the guys’ equipment and says he worries while they’re out on patrol. Trooper Tom Harding, 19 of Clifton, has wife Claire and seven-year-old son Thomas back home.

He says he was nervous at first, but finds the job enjoyable.

“It makes you grow up and think about things. You learn a lot about yourself when you're constantly working and whenI went home on R&R, I noticed I see things in a different light,” he says.

“The job we're doing, protecting Route Trident is a big thing in Afghanistan. The Taliban don't like it, but it’s received quite well across the whole of Helmand.”

Trooper Shaun Craine, 18, from Acomb, is about to do the work of “barmaring” on the patrol - getting out of the vehicle to check the ground for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Previously he has been a driver and the troops rotate jobs.

“You're nervous when you first get out here, but now we know what to expect from it all. It's good at times and I’d much rather be here than in an office back home,” he says.