Mail brings elation to the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery - but this turns to sadness as the precious pictures of their children and letters from loved ones are incinerated.
Mementos which might identify soldiers have had to be given up
Personal items other than identification discs, medical cards, and money are destroyed in case they give interrogators an advantage over captured soldiers.
Lieutenant Rich Piercy, 23, of Goole, East Yorkshire, said: "It might seem harsh that
we have to destroy the mail - but it is for a very good reason.
soldier is captured he could be put under psychological pressure if an
interrogator has personal photographs or a home address."
Sergeant Ewan Andrews, 30, of Aldershot, Hampshire, has had to burn photographs of
his 10-month-old son, Sam.
"I am absolutely gutted - but it is an Army rule and you just have to
The mail also brings parcels of food, sweets, chocolates and toiletries.
Sergeant Dean Foster, 34, from London, said: "It's great to receive mail and
photographs - but it's gut-wrenching when you have to destroy them, especially the
photographs of the kids you haven't seen for ages."
Carl Bond, 23, of Aldershot, added: "It's nice to receive mail - but the worst
thing about it is having to burn it after you have read it."
And Bombardier Pete Bryce, 30, said: "It is such a massive morale booster and you
do feel bad when you have to destroy letters and photographs.
"However, it just makes you more determined to get the job done quickly and
come home in one piece."
Pooled despatch from Martin Dillon of the Manchester Evening