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Harry to train with Australian SAS

Published 02/04/2015

Prince Harry's 10-year Army career is coming to an end
Prince Harry's 10-year Army career is coming to an end

Prince Harry is "tremendously looking forward" to a placement with the Australian army which will see him go on patrol with Aboriginal soldiers and train with the country's special forces.

Harry, a British Army officer who will leave the Armed Forces in June, is due to begin his four weeks with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) on Monday by paying tribute to the nation's war dead before reporting for duty later that morning.

The ADF said they want to provide Harry, who is known as Captain Wales in the Army, with an "authentic military experience".

The force said: "Defence's focus for this attachment is to provide Captain Wales with an authentic military experience in the Australian army that builds on his previous experience with coalition forces and complements his work with wounded, injured and ill service personnel."

Harry's previous experience working with Australian soldiers 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, his spokesman said.

"Prince Harry is tremendously looking forward to starting his four week attachment with the ADF," said the spokesman.

" 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."

On Monday Harry will lay a wreath at the country's Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Canberra, during his only scheduled public appearance while in Australia.

During his time in the country the Prince will spend time at army barracks in Sydney, training on helicopter simulators, 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, his spokesman added.

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

After laying a wreath at the Tomb Of The Unknown Solider on Monday, 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.

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, the Prince 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.

In a statement released by Kensington Palace at the time, Harry explained: ''After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision.

''I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process.

''From learning the hard way to stay onside with my colour sergeant at Sandhurst, to the incredible people I served with during two tours in Afghanistan - the experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that I will always be hugely grateful."

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