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Harry to begin Australia army stint

Published 05/04/2015

Prince Harry is beginning his four-week placement with the Australian Defence Force
Prince Harry is beginning his four-week placement with the Australian Defence Force

Prince Harry will soon begin an attachment with Australia's military that will see him go on patrol with Aboriginal soldiers and train with the country's special forces.

Harry, a British Army officer who will be leaving the UK's armed forces in June, will start his four-week placement with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) tomorrow by laying a wreath at the country's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Canberra - in honour of the nation's war dead - before reporting for duty later that morning.

The ADF has said it wants to provide Harry, who is known as Captain Wales in the Army, with an ''authentic military experience''.

Harry's previous experience serving with Australian troops during his time in Afghanistan, and on a charity trek to the South Pole, has "stoked his enthusiasm" to work with the country's forces, a Kensington Palace spokesman said.

He added: ''Prince Harry is tremendously looking forward to starting his four-week attachment with the ADF.

''It has been an opportunity he has been keen to explore for a couple of years now and is delighted to be able to do it before completing his military service with the British armed forces later this year.

''Prince Harry has trained and served alongside Australian armed forces on operational tours to Afghanistan; he has met them during the Invictus Games; and even trekked to the South Pole with a couple of Australian soldiers.

''Those experiences reinforced the huge admiration and respect he already had for Australian servicemen and women and has stoked his enthusiasm even more to build on those relationships in the next four weeks.

''He knows he will learn a huge amount from his Australian colleagues during this attachment and he is grateful to the ADF for producing such a varied and interesting programme for him.''

After laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier tomorrow, the prince will tour the First World War and Afghanistan Galleries at the Australian War Memorial in the capital Canberra and then meet members of the public.

Later Harry will report for duty to the Chief of the Defence Force and meet senior army personnel before commencing his military exchange with the Australian army.

During his time in the country the prince will spend time at army barracks in Sydney, training on helicopter simulators in Perth, where he will train with the Special Air Service, and Darwin where he will work with members of Norforce, the mostly indigenous unit that patrols northern Australia.

He is also looking forward to learning how wounded servicemen and women are supported in Australia, having worked with the Ministry of Defence's Personnel Recovery Unit in the UK, Kensington Palace added.

Harry will join his father the Prince of Wales at the Gallipoli commemorations in Turkey on April 24 and 25.

When he leaves the armed forces in June, the royal will spend part of the summer in Africa - a continent he has a great affection for - carrying out voluntary work with field-based conservation experts to learn how local communities in sub-Saharan Africa are working to protect and conserve natural resources and wildlife.

In the autumn, Harry will volunteer with the Ministry of Defence's Recovery Capability Programme supporting the rehabilitation of wounded, injured or sick service personnel where he has been working previously, while he considers what to do next.

Harry has revealed that a decision on his long-term employment prospects has been left open, saying: ''I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities.''

During his 10-year military career the prince went on two tours of duty to Afghanistan and qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander.

His decision to leave the Army was a surprise to many as he was seen as a passionate member of the forces, who had always dreamt of being a career soldier even as a young boy.

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