A North East-born soldier is nearing the end of her two month tour on the frontline in Afghanistan.
L-Cpl Louise Watson, 21, a former pupil of Hylton Red House Comprehensive, Sunderland, is a soldier in the Royal Corps of Signals based at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in Gloucester.
Louise is coming to the end of her tour in Helmand Province working as a Communications Systems Engineer.
She said: “I’ve been supporting NATO and ISAF troops as we hand patrol bases over to the Afghan Security Forces, and we move back into Camp Bastion.
“I assist with the building of our communication systems.”
Louise has been in the Army for three years, and this is her first operational tour overseas. She also worked at the London Olympics in 2012.
“I knew from the age of 14 that I wanted to be in the Army,” she said. “I didn’t want a 9am to 5pm job. I wanted to have new experiences and the opportunity to travel.
“I was also inspired by my uncle, Cpl James Dunbar, who is currently serving with the Adjutant General’s Corps.
“After finishing school I did a uniformed services course before starting a military preparation course. Both these courses boosted my confidence and reinforced my thoughts about joining the Army.”
Louise has enjoyed her time in Helmand Province, and will be volunteering for future tours to gain further experience, and to travel more.
She added: “I’ve really enjoyed my time out here, and will take back some new skills in the trade.
“I’ve also increased my confidence, and built some good working relationships.”
Outside of her working role, Louise plays football for the Royal Signals Corps. She also enjoys swimming, athletics, basketball and rounders.
She said: “I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends again and booking a last minute holiday.”