Former county pupil trains Afghan troops in war zone

The Oxford Times: Warrant Officer Class Two David Boissel Warrant Officer Class Two David Boissel

A FORMER pupil at Fitzharrys School in Abingdon has spoken of the challenges he faces as he starts work in Afghanistan to train the country’s army.

Warrant Officer Class Two David Boissel is based at Camp Bastion with the Brigade Advisory Group, which oversees the training of the Afghan National Army in the Asian country’s Helmand Province.

The 36-year-old, a Battery Sergeant Major in the 3rd Regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery, is tasked with helping to deliver training courses which include lessons on using weapons and guarding command posts.

The soldier said the busy and challenging role was hard work yet he was still enjoying his part in the nine-month Operation Herrick tour.

But he said a big challenge for him was having to teach through translators.

He said: “Teaching through interpreters is completely different to talking directly to the students.

“The interpreter doesn’t always interpret exactly what you are trying to say, word for word.”

The British Army is helping to train Afghan troops as it prepares to leave the country after first arriving in 2001.

So far, the conflict has cost 447 British Army service men and women their lives.

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WO2 Boissel, who is now married with two daughters, has served in the army for 19 years.

The former Fitzharrys School pupil said he had wanted to be in the forces since he was child as his father Terence served in the Royal Air Force and retired 10 years ago.

The soldier has previously served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Iraq, and he says he is used to working with other nationalities.

He said: “In 2011 I trained foreign students at the Royal School of Artillery in Oman.

“There was a real mixture of nationalities there including the students from United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Georgia, and the United States of America.”

WO2 Boissel, who was born in Halton, Buckinghamshire, has his home base in Hohne, Germany with his wife Dawn Boissel and their two children, Rhianne, 13, and Megan, 11.

When he gets time, his hobbies include motocross and football.

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