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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
My war: The army wife
Amanda McCaldin

Amanda McCaldin has been waiting for news from her husband, Calum, a sergeant in 16 Close Support Medical Regiment based in Colchester, Essex.

She has just received her first telephone call since the war began. For her, and other service families, the past weeks have been a time of anxiety.

When Calum rang it was a case of 'Oh God, what are you doing phoning me?' but it was lovely... a big surprise.

It was the same for the other wives on the base when the calls started coming through, because we hadn't had any contact since the war began, and the letters were taking a long time to get through.

The atmosphere was buzzing, the wives had been chatting together the day before, then we had the phone calls and it was a great relief for everybody.

You could see people smiling, everyone was on a high.

Risks

For me, the phone call was a Godsend, even though Calum couldn't say where he was.

I still don't have a clue what he has been doing, because you can't say anything over the phone. But being ex-Army myself, I understand that.

I have been following events on the news closely enough to know what is going on, but I have not let myself become obsessed by it.

I put the TV on in the morning, to see if anything has happened overnight, then I might watch again in the evening.

The guys who are over there are still at risk...there is still the odd sniper around
Amanda McCaldin

We have got a little girl, who is six, and I did not want her to see what was going on. She knows where her dad is, but she does not need to know any more than that.

During the war we had all this coverage, but now it is getting a little quieter. But the guys who are over there are still at risk...there is still the odd sniper around. So I won't be really happy until Calum walks back through the door.

I organised a 'Treats for Troops' campaign to send out little luxuries to the lads and lasses. The response has been fantastic, and I have received letters of thanks from privates up to colonels.

The past few weeks have been an experience and it has been stressful. We have done everything else - Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo - but this was the first war. My husband has been out there for two and a half months, and he may not be home until July.

I am going to try to book a holiday soon, but Calum says he does not want to see any more sand, he wants to go to the Arctic!"





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