A ground-breaking project that uses archaeology to aid the rehabilitation of soldiers injured in Afghanistan has started on Salisbury Plain Training Area.
The unique programme will examine the Iron Age deposits at Chisenbury Midden with soldiers excavating material, including decorated pottery, moved by badgers who have constructed their setts on the prehistoric monument. The soldiers from 1 Rifles, who are based in Chepstow, will learn a series of excavation, land survey, drawing and mapping techniques and will also enhance their publication and presentation skills.
The project has been directed by Sergeant Diarmaid Walshe of 1 Rifles, with support from a number of partners including English Heritage, Canterbury Archaeological Trust, Wessex Archaeology and the army’s survey unit,135 Geographical Squadron.
1 RIFLES are a Light Roled Infantry Battalion within 3 Commando Brigade, a unique role within the infantry. The 1st Battalion was formed on 25 December 2007 in Alma Barracks, Catterick Garrison. They are an amalgamation of the 1st Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and the 1st Battalion, Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry.
The battalion’s home location is Chepstow which is in the heart of The Rifles recruiting territory in the South West. 1 RIFLES joined 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines in April 2008 and have worked closely with the Commando Brigade on operations.
As a rifle regiment, a private soldier in The Rifles is known as a Rifleman and Serjeant is spelt in the archaic fashion and soldiers in the regiment wears a Rifle green beret. Many Riflemen have completed the legendary, arduous All Arms Commando Course with a number of them winning 3 Commando Medals, awarded for the student on each Commando Course whose performance and attitude best embodies the Commando ethos.
The Battalion has deployed over 500 Riflemen to Afghanistan where they have a vital mission in providing support to the civil government. The main aim of the operation is to stabilise Afghanistan so that it cannot become a safe haven for terrorists. The emphasis is on working with the police authority and the local people remain the main priority for 1 Rifles. Since the Riflemen have arrived in Afghanistan they have been had major successes in ensuring that local people can live and work in a safe environment without fear of terrorism. Because of the dedication and hard work of 1 Rifles the people of Afghanistan are experiencing a better standard of living and a hope of a safer future.
To learn more about 1 Rifles mission in Afghanistan and their preparation for it, please visit:
It is envisaged that the soldiers of 1 Rifles, supported by the archaeological profession on the site they will carry out the excavation and then produce a published report to record their findings at the site.
Sergeant Diarmaid Walshe, a qualified archaeologist, said:
“These soldiers have all endured a lot during operational tours. Due to the complex nature of their physical and mental injuries, sustained in Afghanistan, the army is looking at new and innovative ways to promote recovery. It is my belief that archaeology is the perfect way to achieve this, whilst enhancing their rehabilitation process. We are investing time and resources to aid these soldiers, with a firm belief that fieldwork and recording will aid their recovery.”
The work will also help to inform the long term management of the site as recently featured on the BBC’s ‘Secret Britain’ programme.
Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO)
- Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It is responsible for managing and maintaining land and properties to meet the current and future needs of the MOD and personnel at home and abroad, and to support current operations.
- Our work includes providing, supporting and improving: operational units; single living and service family accommodation; training areas and historic military sites. DIO actively manages these to ensure the needs of Defence are met, value for money is achieved, our heritage is protected and to achieve our environmental goals.
- DIO was formed on 1 April 2011 when the former Defence Estates (DE) organisation was brought together with other property and infrastructure functions within department to form a single organisation. DIO manages the MOD’s property infrastructure and ensures strategic management of the Defence estate as a whole.
- 1 RIFLES are a Light Roled Infantry Battalion within 3 Commando Brigade, a unique role within the infantry. 1 RIFLES joined 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines in April 2008. Since then, in addition to working with the Commando Brigade on operations, many Riflemen have completed the legendary, arduous All Arms Commando Course with a number of them winning 3 Commando Medals, awarded for the student on each Commando Course whose performance and attitude best embodies the Commando ethos. In addition the battalion has been developing its arctic, mountain and amphibious skills. The battalion has a proud record in Army Cup rugby, and has enviable results from recent Army shooting competitions; not least a member of the battalion won the Queen’s Medal – for the Regular Army’s top shot – at Bisley in 2007. The battalion’s home location at Chepstow is in the heart of The Rifles recruiting territory in the South West and offers easy acces to the wide range of leisure and adventurous activities available in the Wye Valley and Wales. The battalion is currently deployed in Afghanistan with the Commando Brigade.
Press enquiries to Pragati Baddhan, Communications Officer 0121 311 3678
or email [email protected]
Defence Estates website: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceEstates