Let the Hull Daily Mail deliver your message to a loved one in warzone
FAMILIES of East Yorkshire soldiers serving on the frontline in Afghanistan are invited to send them a festive message.
The Mail is planning to spend Christmas on the frontline in Helmand province, Afghanistan, with the Royal Dragoon Guards.
Relatives, friends and other well- wishers can send us a message to be printed in the newspaper and we will deliver copies of the Mail to them over Christmas.
Chief Reporter Kevin Shoesmith will fly to Helmand province, where he will spend ten days visiting as many outposts in the province as possible during his trip next week.
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He said: "We'd like anyone who knows a member of the Royal Dragoon Guards, be it a relative or friend or anyone else who wants to show their support, to send a message.
"We will print as many messages as possible, which will hopefully go some way to boosting their morale."
Kevin last visited Afghanistan in March when he joined soldiers of 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, on patrol in the districts of Nad-e-Ali and Nahr-e-Saraj.
Christmas is celebrated by soldiers in Afghanistan and the Army makes every effort to ensure everyone gets a turkey dinner. However, operational requirements mean many still have to work on Christmas Day and go on dangerous patrols in enemy territory.
Kevin said: "I have seen just how much a message from home means to the lads serving in Afghanistan.
"Our lads risking their lives this Christmas and enduring sub-zero temperatures in basic conditions need to know people back home are thinking about them."
Soldiers of the Royal Dragoon Guards, based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, have two roles in Afghanistan.
Some troops form what is known as the Warthog Group – named after an armoured vehicle used to protect other soldiers on operations.
The remainder of the soldiers are helping train members of the Afghan National Police (ANP).
Under current plans, Britain will withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
However, the plan hinges on the ability of Afghan forces, such as the ANP, to quash any attempt by insurgents to topple the administration once foreign troops leave.
Messages, to reach us no later than Tuesday, should be sent to: Kevin Shoesmith, Hull Daily Mail, Blundell's Corner, Beverley Road, Hull, HU3 1XS. Remember to include the soldier's name, age and area he is from.
Families can also e-mail k.shoe email@example.com with their messages.