Soldier from Aylesbury sent to Oman as part of British Army training exercise

A soldier from Aylesbury has been sent to Oman as part of the British Army's main exercise for 2018.

Thursday, 1st November 2018, 2:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st November 2018, 2:35 pm
Army gunner Tristan Bell - photo courtesy of Crown Copyright

Tristan Bell, 23, a gunner within the Royal Horse Artillery has been deployed to Oman in the Middle East on Exercise Saif Sareea 3, the Army’s main exercise for the year and the largest exercise of its kind in 17 years.

The exercise is designed to test the ability of the UK and a country governed by a sultan and more than 5,500 troops will participate.

Tristan joined the Army in 2015 and is based in Tidworth, Wiltshire.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said: "I joined the Army because both my nan and granddad were in the Army and I wanted a mental and a physical challenge."

He is part of a six-man gun crew working on an AS90 Howitzer gun.

As a driver, he is responsible for getting the vehicle in position so that it can carry out its fire mission.

With his deployment lasting five weeks, Tristan has been acclimatising to the extreme conditions with temperatures regularly peaking around 30C.

He said: "Getting used to the heat has been hard, we’ve been out doing physical training very early each morning which has helped.

"This is especially important as he will shortly become a physical training instructor.

"Training out here in the heat has been great as you hit the wall much sooner and that really tests your mental and physical resilience to the limits."

During their time in Oman, troops are also given the chance to conduct some adventurous training and Tristan chose to do some snorkelling in the sea off the coast of Muscat.

He said: "Snorkelling has been my personal highlight so far.

"I love being in the sea and just being out here with the guys and girls of B Battery 1 RHA has been good for the bonding process - you learn to bounce off each other quicker and we’re all closer as a team now."

Tristan grew up in the town and went to Chesham Park School.

He later worked for Cinram doing warehouse work before joining the Army.

Tristan said he was most looking forward to seeing his daughter Amaya again when he returns from his deployment.