New hats get a warm welcome from Marines
Royal Marines from a Westcountry-based unit who are fighting in Afghanistan will be keeping warm this winter thanks to a gift of hand-knitted hats.
Every one of the 700 men from 40 Commando has been given a woolly head-warmer to help them fight the notorious chilly December weather in Helmand.
Temperatures in Afghanistan plummet to well below zero in winter and troops working in isolated locations with their Afghan National Security Forces counterparts generally live in austere conditions.
Lieutenant Charlie Gordon, Queen's Royal Lancers, who is working alongside the men from Taunton-based 40 Commando, said it was a great present.
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"I didn't think I'd need a winter hat in Afghanistan but here you don't just have to be fighting fit – you also have to be thinking fit with a toasty brain."
Captain Chris Wayne, of 4 Regiment Royal Artillery, working with Bravo Company, 40 Commando, at a patrol base in the Malgir region of Nahr-e-Saraj, said: "For the follicly challenged soldiers amongst us the woolly hats are not just a nicety but a necessity to maintain combat effectiveness." The project is the brainchild of Bristol Royal British Legion member Roger Dudbridge, whose grandson, Marine Liam Fletcher, is a signaller serving with Alpha Company, 40 Commando.
All the hats are knitted by wives of people in the armed forces, wives of British Legion members and wives of those killed or injured in action.