A MAJOR with the explosives disposal team dubbed ‘the real Hurt Locker’ has spoken from the frontline to thank the community for its support.
Major Karl Frankland is part of the 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, which has its headquarters at Didcot’s Vauxhall Barracks.
He is currently on deployment in Afghanistan, where his team deals with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on a regular basis.
Maj Frankland said: “I am currently deployed on Op Herrick 17 as a High Threat Operator within the EOD and Search Task Force.
“Our purpose is to make safe IEDs so we can gather forensic evidence for intelligence purposes.
“In the last three months my team has deployed on 35 tasks and dealt with over 20 IEDs.”
Despite the constant threat of danger, Maj Frankland says to be part of the regiment is a “truly great honour”. He added: “I wondered what it was like being part of 11 EOD compared to more conventional battalions.
“The unit is one of the most decorated in the Army, and for good reason.
“Members of the regiment repeatedly throw themselves into the firing line of the counter IED battle.
“The regiment has seen action in every major modern conflict, especially Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and now Afghanistan.
“This is not forgetting to mention our mainland bomb disposal duties. Of course, this level of commitment comes at a cost and we have lost several of our small family along the way, including many injured.
“You will never find a braver and more committed bunch than the teams that operate within 11 EOD Regiment, and I am immensely proud to be part of that.”
Maj Frankland is also a trustee of Felix Fund, a charity that supports bomb disposal experts when they return from the war zone in Afghanistan.
In the last year it has raised £500,000 which is helping to pay for therapeutic, ‘normalisation’ breaks when soldiers return.
Maj Frankland said: “It is fantastic. Felix Fund actively supports our entire community at grass roots level.
“Previously, those in need of assistance have had to go to the larger charities that were only able to provide a certain level of support.
“This has often meant a long and drawn-out process to bring together the right level of funds for an individual’s own circumstances.
“Felix Fund, on the other hand, raises funds directly for the bomb disposal community and is adept at delivering precision support right where it is needed, within an extremely short time frame.”
“The support Felix Fund gets from the local communities of Didcot, Abingdon and Oxford is outstanding and, frankly, we couldn't do what we do without the awareness and generosity of the people of Oxfordshire.”
- If you would like to help the work of Felix Fund they can be found at felixfund.co.uk