Page last updated at 20:35 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Band of brothers serve in Helmand

Arthey brothers
Sam, Lewis and Liam Arthey are home safely for four weeks' leave

A real-life band of brothers have returned safely from Afghanistan where they have been serving together.

Lewis, Liam and Sam Arthey, from Whitstable, Kent served together in Helmand province in the 2nd Battalion, the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.

The Army has said it is very unusual for three brothers to serve in the same regiment, battalion and company.

Liam, 20, and Sam, 18, were in Helmand for four months, while 22-year-old Lewis joined them for two months.

They said that in one incident, Liam was in an armoured vehicle which was blown up while it was travelling in convoy.

You get a sense of relief when you see them and you know they are OK
Pte Liam Arthey

"He had just left the location where Sam was based," said L/Cpl Lewis.

"They were all chatting and talking, then Liam got in the Viking and they went down the road and Sam heard the explosion."

Sam's sergeant took a group of soldiers to the scene, but would not allow him to go in case his brother was hurt.

"Thankfully everyone was OK, but they didn't know that," said Pte Liam.

"There were two casualties and I was in that vehicle, but luckily it wasn't me."

The regiment, known as The Tigers, is based in Canterbury and draws many of its soldiers from Kent.

The trio, who were serving together in a body of 100 men, said that being together helped them cope with the pressure of being in the theatre of war.

"Once, we were all in this compound and Liam's platoon came in and we spent the day together," said Pte Sam.

"That was good - just sitting around sharing stories.

"It is really good to see your brother."

Pte Liam added: "If you have been in a gunfight and you know they have as well you get a sense of relief when you see them and you know they are OK."

The brothers, who all attended the Community College in Whitstable, arrived home on Friday at the start of a four-week period of leave.



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