ARMY bomb disposal experts ‘defused’ a homemade bomb during a dramatic portrayal of their deadly work.
The four-man team from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment, which has its headquarters in Didcot, took part in the British Military Tournament.
Sunday’s event, which featured 600 service personnel at Earls Court in London, saw the regiment tackle a ‘bomb’ outside an imaginaryAfghan school.
The annual tournament raises money for Forces charities and this year celebrated the life and times of the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
Sergeant Liam Kidman, 29, of 11 EOD Regiment, said: “We did a re-enactment in which 1 Royal Anglian is out on patrol and finds a bomb in the doorway of an Afghan school and they call us, and we defuse the bomb.
“Out in Afghanistan a lot of the Taliban are trying to close down schools, and girls’ schools particularly, and that is where we got the idea from. It is quite current.”
Sgt Kidman said the regiment was trying to distance itself from the 2008 film Hurt Locker about army bomb disposal experts.
He said: “There was a lot in there which the operator did which was there for the value of the civilian public watching it, rather than what actually happens.
“There were a lot of unsafe actions.”
Sgt Kidman and his re-enactment team – which also included Corporal Matthew Coogan, Corporal Jamie Gollings and Lance Corporal Dom Allwork – have all done tours of Afghanistan as bomb disposal experts in the past.
Sgt Kidman’s last tour was in 2008, during which he was second-in-command and controlled the bomb disposal robot.
His team was called to defuse more than 50 explosive devices during the tour.
He said: “Out in Afghanistan they are finding improvised explosive devices all the time and are calling us out to defuse the devices so they can carry on with their patrols. A lot of them are victim operated devices – pressure pads.
“A lot of the time we are called into quite a secure environment – we have infantry and they create a bubble to make sure no-one can encroach when we are working – and it is not very dangerous because of all the high- quality training we go through.
“But anyone who says that they are not scared out in Afghanistan is a fool.
“Everyone gets a bit of apprehension, but as soon as the situation arises we know we have got the training to be equipped to deal with the threat.”
Sgt Kidman is now training to take a lead role – donning a bomb-proof suit and defusing devices himself by hand. He hopes to head out to Afghanistan again next year.
He said: “I just find the job really interesting.”
Prince William was due to attend the tournament but pulled out to spend time with pregnant Kate, who is recuperating after treatment for severe morning sickness.