Mum and son head for Afghanistan

Mum and son, Privates Sonia and Mark Doddrell.
Mum and son, Privates Sonia and Mark Doddrell.
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A mother and son from Lancaster are preparing to serve together in Afghanistan.

Privates Sonia and Mark Doddrell will work in Camp Bastion later this year assisting in the recovery of essential kit and equipment from outlying bases.

Their work is essential as UK forces continue to drawdown from Afghanistan.

Mark, 22, is a full time soldier and is currently serving with 91 Sqn, 27 Theatre Logistic Regiment (27 TLR) based in Hullavington, Wilshire.

He has served with the regiment for four years and this will be his second tour in Afghanistan.

But for his mum, Operation Herrick 19 will be her first tour of the country.

Sonia, 40, is an army reservist who joined up two years ago and serves with 159 Supply Regiment, 381 Medical Supply Squadron, based in Lancaster.

Mark said: “I cannot wait to go out there and do my job, but I’m not too happy about mum going; I’ve been a bit worried that I’ll get stick off my mates. But they’ve been pretty good about it so far.”

The Commanding Officer of 27 TLR, Lt Col T J H Martin MBE said: “We have a number of reserves deploying with 27 Theatre Logistic Group.

They have integrated well and bring a wealth of other experiences with them.

I think it is a fantastic coincidence to have a mother and son duo with us, and I look forward to serving in Afghanistan with them both. “

Sonia, who works as a postwoman for the Royal Mail in her civilian life, volunteered for the forthcoming deployment knowing that her son might be involved.

She could not be sure where she would be serving or even if she would be selected.

She was shocked and delighted to discover that not only had she been picked to work in Afghanistan, but she would be based in Camp Bastion at the same time as Mark.

The mother-of-two said: “I wanted to join the Army years ago, but never did. Then I had my children and so it got postponed again while I concentrated on bringing them up.

“A couple of years ago, I was working in a mail centre and I saw an announcement that the Territorial Army were looking to recruit staff.

“I immediately thought of 381 Squadron, because that’s where Mark signed up and they treated him so well. So I and went to see them and joined.”

Mark, who has also served in Canada, said: “I joined the Army to get qualifications and see the world; I really enjoy it.

“The last time I was in Afghanistan I was travelling out to patrol bases – this time will be very different, but I just enjoy doing my job out there.”

Sonia was recently named Soldier of the Year by 381 Medical Supply Squadron and has plans to gain her HGV driving qualifications through the Army Reserve.

She said: “I really enjoy being in the reserve I’ve made lots of friends and it’s a great experience.”

Last year Sonia worked in the Olympic Park as part of the Armed Forces support to the Olympic Games.

She said: “I was working in and around the Olympic Stadium for three months and I really enjoyed it. I was given a ‘golden ticket’ for the opening ceremony and so I sat with all the celebrities. I couldn’t believe it!”

Sonia and Mark are expected to deploy in October and will be based in different parts of Camp Bastion.

They hope to meet up occasionally after work to catch up on family life.

Sonia said: “I’m not worried about us going out there. I’ve got every confidence in our training.”