Home from Afghanistan

A Brechin soldier who has spent the last six months in the Afghanistan has decided to retire from the army after 12 years service.

Anthony Caird, who just turned 28, was part of the parade 300 of Black Watch personnel and their comrades from the 51st Highland 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and The Queen’s Own Yeomanry, which marched through Forfar.

The Duke of Rothesay took the Royal Salute to mark the end of The Black Watch’s successful six month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

As a member of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland Anthony was a Regimental Signal Detachment Commander in charge of all the communication equipment.

The former Brechin High School student joined the army at the young age of just 16 years and five months.

“I used to be in the Brechin cadets where I was a Sergeant and I really enjoyed it.

“My dad was ex Black Watch and I just fancied the idea of joining the army.”

Anthony described his time in Afghanistan: “I saw quite a lot when I was over there.

“We were in a very small camp, with around 100 people.

“You have Camp Bastion which is a huge British camp. In there there are soldiers who have never seen outside the walls of the camp, and then you get us, that is very small camps that are spotted all about Helm Province and we are the ones that used to get attacked every night although it has started to calm down.

“When we went across in October it was very quiet for, say, four months.

“You could go out with no problems at all then when all the trouble started up with the Americans that is when everything started to escalate.

“Also it is starting to get warmer so the insurgents are starting to come out of hiding.

“It is still too early to tell if things will settle down. We have started the handover in Nadi Ali but only the summer will tell.

“Being in Afghanistan is not all about going out and fighting. We need to try and stabilise the country, not blow everything up.”

During his time in Afghanistan Anthony was pleased to receive a copy of the Brechin Advertiser, which he kept in his bag throughout his time away.

“It was nice to read about Brechin. I don’t really get much information about what is going on as I am always very busy so we never get the chance to watch the TV.

“You can sometimes get to catch up with the news but it just depends what happens on the day.

“If something has happened on the day everything gets shut down and then we have no way of knowing what is happening on the outside.”

Although Anthony knows he will miss the thrill he is glad to be back home: “I did actually miss Brechin,” he explained.

“You take it for granted when you are here but then you go out for six months and you start to miss your surroundings, your home comforts.

“You miss being close to people because out there you are quite isolated. Day-by-day everything is a never ending battle but I am now getting too old for it .”

When Anthony went out on the ground the bag that is seen in the picture is the bag that carried all his possessions.

“It was very heavy because we had to carry the radio, spare batteries and spare equipment for it,” he said. “It always hurt my shoulders, leaving them red from the weight.

“I was there during the winter and it was absolutely freezing. The kit we had was not really designed for cold temperatures but because we were moving around you did heat up.”

Anthony is now on some well deserved leave and is in the process of looking for a new career.