A group of men whose day jobs include lorry driving and wild boar farming spent three weeks near the Himalayas training Nepalese soldiers.

The eight-strong team of reservists, experts in explosives disposal based at the Tunbridge Wells Army reserve centre, provided a ‘niche training package’ in Kathmandu, in preparation for the Nepalese army’s deployment to Mali on a UN operation.

Tunbridge Wells is home to 579 Field Squadron (EOD), 101 Regiment, Royal Engineers, a reserve unit which has the job of searching out and destroying munitions such as unexploded bombs and IEDs.

Nepalese army
Nepalese soldiers practise removing an ‘explosive’ device

Major ‘Ginge’ Brown said: “Mali has been torn apart by years of internal fighting with insurgencies and factions fighting for overall control.

“After years of conflict much of the country will be littered with the debris of war; a percentage of which will undoubtedly be explosive remnants of war which will need to be found and destroyed.”

Lance Corporal David Montandon, a 47-year-old dispatch manager from Ticehurst, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; I’ve spent six years learning my trade and now I’m passing on what I know to help someone who could be in danger.”