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Weekly editor experiences Afghan rocket attack

A weekly newspaper editor experienced a rocket attack while reporting from the frontline this week with soldiers in Afghanistan.

Deanne Blaylock, left, from the Brentwood Gazette Series, is staying with troops from Essex’s Royal Anglian Regiment.

Her adventure started at RAF Brize Norton from where she flew to an RAF base in Cyprus before heading to Kandahar International Airport.

She left the Oxfordshire airbase with 150 military personnel and a dozen civilians and arrived at her destination almost 24 hours after leaving.

During her first day in Camp Kandahar, Deanne received a harsh lesson in life at the base for soldiers.

She wrote: “At 8.04pm local time, up to 100 people dive for cover. Knives and forks are dropped, dinner trays deserted and the piercing sound of the IDF (in-direct fire) siren reverberates around the cook house.

“Rocket Attack. Rocket Attack. Rocket Attack bellows from the speakers.

“Lying flat on the floor, ear to the ground, three distant mortar attacks are felt.

“I look at the faces of those around me. Some have their eyes shut, some gaze blankly into the soles of shoes in front of them.

“The siren lasts for two minutes followed by a deafening silence until people begin to stir back to life. ‘Can’t believe that just happened during dinner,’ I hear a squaddie moan.”

Deanne has since arrived in Camp Bastion after two failed attempts and is filing an online dairy and features pieces for the Gazette’s print edition.