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Helmand: Diaries of Front-line Soldiers (General Military) [Kindle Edition]

Simon Weston
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

During their tour of Afghanistan in 2008 a few Royal Marines from 40 Commando kept personal diaries of their experiences of teh country, their tour in Helmand Province, their impressions of the war and their feelings towards the civilians they protected and the Taliban they fought against. For the first time these diaries have been collected together to form a gripping account of what life is really like on the front-line in modern warfare.

With entries from a range of soldiers, including the recollections and diaries of Lieutenant John Thornton, who was tragically killed a few weeks before the end of his tour, as well as a Padre, Commanding Officer and a Royal Marine Commando, Helmand is a timely glimpse at life for our armed forces during the war in Afghanistan. As the deadline approaches for the removal of British troops from active service in Afghanistan, John Thornton’s brother Ian found himself also deployed to Helmand. His words reveal how Afghanistan has changed in the last few years – and how despite the best efforts and sacrifices made by so many young men and women, some things remain exactly the same.

Product Description


"A vivid portrait of life on the frontline through the diaries and recollections of soldiers who contend with moustache competitions one minute and life threatening action the next. Funny, heart breaking, absorbing and above all, honest. A must read book." --Paddy Ashdown, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, GCMG KBE PC,
Author of A Brilliant Little Operation: The Cockleshell Heroes and the Most Courageous Raid of World War 2

An honest, poignant and often harrowing account of life on the Afghan front line. --Sunday Mirror

This book is timely, poignant and riveting. It ranks as a must-read. --Toy Soldier & Model Figure

About the Author

Simon Weston served with the Welsh Guards and was badly injured during the Falklands Conflict. His recuperation and story is an inspiration to millions. Simon is the patron for the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By ronix
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Helmond: Diaries of Front Line Soldiers - Simon Weston

Simon Weston - a survivor of the Falklands War, has written the introduction to this extraordinary book. His notes help one to get a better picture of how and why the war in Afghanistan is being fought. Without it, going straight into the diaries of John Thornton, The OC, C Company, Iain Sutherland, Chris Fletcher, Rev. Stuart Hallam and then finally the diary of Ian Thornton (John's brother) would have been difficult to fully understand, especially if like me, you have no military background.

The diaries are so personal, so intimate; you can feel the writer's emotions pouring through their words. Reading John's words and then seeing them suddenly stop just after speaking to his mother and brother just days before he was killed in 2008 were particularly poignant.

All the other diaries tie in with this tragedy until we get to Ian Thornton's diaries written when he went to Afghanistan on 11 September 2011. It's so interesting to see how he found the area where John and other members of the UK forces had fought and some tragically died trying so hard to restore some kind of peace to this very complex country. I think what struck me the most about Ian's diaries was the fear that he would lose his life there and would leave his parents to grieve for not just John but also for him. It must have taken so much courage for the family to see him going back to the same area, but also the reward of finding that the place had found some calm and what soldiers had lost lives and limbs for was actually changing the face of Afghanistan to a more manageable place.

Thank you Linda, Pete & Ian and the other diarists for allowing us to share in these very private and emotional diaries.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and touching 18 Nov. 2013
By Thomas
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing account of what it is really like . I felt the loss of Lieutenant John Thornton, it was done poignantly and with respect to the family. With each individual diary I felt I was involved and experiencing events through their eyes . The adrenalin rush of success and the gut wrenching loss of a trusted friend and respected colleague .
Lieutenant Ian Thornton's, John's older brother gave a moving, honest, and brave account. His experience is more recent.Laced with humour, and irony it is still clear that Afganistan is still a dangerous and unpredictable environment . Filled with the unknown and the unexpected .
Brave young men all.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable read 5 Jun. 2013
By Rainman
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not a massive reader but had to buy this after hearing all about it.

The way in which this book is written is so amazing and makes you feel like you're getting an insight into what actually happens, rather than what the media allow you to see.

If you're reading this then you must be somewhat interested in the book, if that's the case then just buy it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very enlightening book that gives you the personal insights of two tours of Afghanistan. The simplicity of the book structure lends to the reality of the situation being detailed in the diary entries. You come to a sudden halt on the diary of John Thornton, and are slapped in the face with simple entry that he and Marine David Marsh died on 30th March 2008. The diaries entries of John's friends give you their view of the 'jigsaw' of military campaigns who are involved in the same operations, just in different roles. The emotional trauma of losing a close friend and colleague is evident, and yet has to be dusted down and put away, to ensure they remain professional for the remainder of the tour.

To then be able to read the diary of Ian Thornton, who followed in his late brother's footsteps on his own tour of Afghanistan allows you to see the improvements that have been made. His first half of his deployment being in the relatively peaceful area of Nad e ali, thanks to the protection offered by local and international forces and reveals the mundane part of peacekeeping duties, essential as they are. The second half of his tour takes him to the 'new' frontline and being exposed to surreal environments of watching your enemy prepare for an attack in front of your eyes, but having to fulfil your legal obligations of meeting the criteria of being under imminent threat of death, before being allowed to engage. The diary reveals his own concerns for his personal well-being and alleviating his family's worries of potentially losing another child.

An emotional read and a great insight to the duty of care Ian Thornton had towards his men and his family, and all the pressures of responsibility that brings. Thanks for being my son's 'Boss', and bringing your men home safely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FRONT LINE GRIT 10 Jun. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have ever wondered what goes through the mind of a front line soldier, then I this book is for you. This a very emotional account done in diary form, of what a soldier thinks and experiences in the front line. Highly recommended reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 14 July 2013
By Kizzer
Format:Kindle Edition
A true insight into the lives and activities of those serving in Helmand. Short diary entries make it the perfect pickup when you have a few spare minutes, and gripping enough to make you want to read it cover to cover
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
Enjoyable though some of the jargon takes a bit of getting used to. This is a look at personal views and hence has some idiosyncratic parts that give a greater depth than possible... Read more
Published 4 months ago by E A M Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read very eye opening
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Barbara Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who cares about the great sacrifice made by our...
A must read for anyone who cares about the great sacrifice made by our troops.
some truly amazing people have written these diaries. Read more
Published 13 months ago by ian ramsbottom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very happy
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Helmand
I expected an everyday view of a soldiers life in Helmand. However it was more of technical jargon that professional soldiers would use. Read more
Published 15 months ago by lyngos
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
Bought this book for my brother who was in the Army a few years ago, he said it';s brilliant so there you have it - brilliant.
Published 17 months ago by Mr. Robert E. Burridge
4.0 out of 5 stars recent military history
I have read a few books by personnel who have served in Afghanistan and I am really interested in how our troops have performed. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Robert John briggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
A great read giving a great insight into the War by those who have fought it hard to put down
Published 18 months ago by HAIRY AMAZON
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
we were recommended this book to read and are glad we've read it and would recommend it. See other reviews.
Published 19 months ago by roman
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