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From bearskins to Belize... it's all in a's work for Guards.

Just a few weeks ago, the First Battalion Welsh Guards were standing outside the House of Commons in their bearskins for the State Opening of Parliament. The next day, they were donning their combats and machetes and were crawling around in the Belize jungle.

For their Offensive Operations exercise, Number Three Company spent several days roughing it in the depths of the Central American jungle preparing an "attack".

The enemy was played by the Belize Defence Force who were hoping to capture nearby territory.

The mission was to find and destroy all enemy patrols and to locate and destroy their camp.

Lance Corporal Leon Peek, 22, of Tonyrefail, said: "By day we try to blend in with the environment and prepare for attack at any time. We have to sleep on the floor because we need to keep our cover. We can't use torches because the enemy could see, you can't cook or do anything that can seem unnatural."

Guardsman Joe Huish, 23, of Rumney, Cardiff, said: "We form an all-round defence so we're ready if we get attacked from any side.

"We make a track through the base that we can follow at night because it's so dark and during the night we do a two-hour rotation lookout."

As the patrol passed, the ambush began. The rifles used blanks and stage directors were on hand to announce who had been shot. The "bodies" were then searched for information on the enemy camp.

Joe added: "We're doing the training so we get better and better and Belize is a different terrain than we're used to."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 19, 2007
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