Lieutenant James Piper was commissioned as an officer in August 2007 and is on his first tour of Afghanistan.

The 28-year-old is married and lives in Wandsworth, he said: “I find it really exciting and interesting working here if Afghanistan.

“Having the Afghan interpreters on patrol with us is a real asset. They spot things that we could never tell like if there is someone who is not from the area. It gives us advance warning of anything that might be going on.

“A few days ago we set off on a patrol in to the north of Woqab Patrol Base, towards the enemy line to clear an improvised explosive device. We were north of the building, towards the enemy when it all started going off.

“Roshan tower spotted the enemy and positively identified them as a threat, then all hell broke loose.

"The boys up at Roshan started firing off the dragon gun and we had 105mm shells, .50 calibre rounds and Javelin missiles over our heads and towards the enemy, the lot, it was very exciting.”

With thoughts to back home and his wife Lt Piper said: “My wife is very sympathetic but she misses me loads. I miss having her around for support and I know she misses me but she sends me stuff all the time in the post.

"This week I got pasta and pesto which may not seem like much but when you are living of 24-hour ration packs it makes the world of difference.”

The former Birmingham University history student is a patrol commander at Woqab PB and lives in a area he and his men affectionately calls the 'bat cave'.

He added: “It is all right here but sometimes you get woken in the night by lizards scuttling around and dropping mud on your mosquito net and where the sun beats down on the mud buildings all day it heats right up at night but I prefer it here because we are out the way and can pretty much do our own thing.”

p> • For more from our reporter Harry Miller in Afghanistan, click here