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Cut-off. Surrounded. Outnumbered. Just 88 British soldiers resigned to defeat after fighting off 500 Taliban for 54 days. Then, against all the odds,…

  • The 88 men of Easy Company held out against Taliban for two months
  • They defended Helmand outpost Musa Qala against 500 enemy troops
  • Ministry of Defence previously banned details of conflict being revealed
  • Channel 4 documentary will shed new light using the soldiers’ stories

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Outgunned, outmanoeuvred, hopelessly outnumbered and besieged in the Afghan desert, a small band of British soldiers chose to save a final bullet for themselves rather than fall into Taliban hands. For nearly two months, the 88 men of Easy Company a mix of Paratroopers and the Royal Irish had faced the overwhelming force and firepower of up to 500 Taliban determined to over-run the remote Helmand outpost of Musa Qala. And their near miraculous survival has been described as a latter day Rorke s Drift, evocative of the 1879 siege in which 140 British soldiers held off a Zulu force of 3,000, later immortalised in the blockbuster film starring Michael Caine.

For 56 days in the autumn of 2006, the men at Musa Qala faced constant fire from fixed machine gun posts and mortars. Hugh Keir, left, and Jared Cleary, right, were two of the Easy Company snipers under constant attack for two months at the remote Helmand outpost Musa Qala

Hungry and frequently at the point of exhaustion, they were forced to somehow fend off 360-degree attacks from the Taliban, with little protection beyond a series of low mud walls. They used up a quarter of all the British Army s Afghan ammunition for that entire year.

Yet today their heroism remains little known, not least because the Ministry of Defence has never permitted the full story of what happened there ten years ago this month to be told. It has taken a Channel 4 documentary team to piece together fragments of testimony from survivors who have now left the Army, to reveal in devastating detail how close the 88 officers and men came to being massacred. They lost three men and saw 12 badly wounded before a ragged ceasefire was brokered by tribal elders, allowing them to evacuate their Helmand hell-hole. As with Rorke s Drift, the final, devastating assault somehow never came.

Their ordeal began almost immediately when, on August 23, Easy Company was dropped by Chinook to replace a mainly Danish Nato contingent struggling to bring stability and security to the remote region. It was a terrible start. The Taliban watched in satisfaction as the Danes took with them more than 40 armoured vehicles, eight heavy machine guns and a 12-strong medical team with armoured ambulances. Their British replacements had just two heavy machine guns, one doctor, two medics and a quad bike. When Taliban spies reported the huge reduction in armour and weaponry, the terror leaders scented an easy victory.

To make matters worse, the village was often too dangerous for helicopter support, and reinforcements although it is still not entirely clear why simply never came. The ‘miracle’ survival of the 88 soldiers has been compared to Rorke’s Drift, immortalised by the Michael Caine film Zulu, pictured, where 140 British soldiers held off 3,000 Zulu

Troop Staff Sergeant Ian Wornham listened with his Afghan translator to the enemy s radio communications. He recalled: They were talking about drinking tea in our headquarters by sunrise which meant they were going to kill anyone in their way. Or worse. There was, after all, the prospect of being taken alive, with beheadings later broadcast on YouTube.

Sniper Jared Cleary said: It came to a point I actually thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

‘I swore I was going to get hit by a mortar bomb. I remember standing there, my legs shaking uncontrollably.

‘If you got caught, you d probably end up on YouTube having your head cut off. Everybody knew that the possibility of getting captured and executed was very real. Initially, Taliban tactics resembled scenes from Rorke s Drift as they tried to over-run the compound in a series of full frontal attacks. They came so close to breaking in that they were able to lob grenades over the walls of the compound.

Wornham, a veteran with 20 years experience, said: I d never encountered fighting like that. It was very intense and it wasn t just from one direction. They were attacking from all sides all the time. Sergeant Freddie Kruyer of 3 Para continued: You re returning fire but for every one that you re knocking down, you re thinking how many more are going to keep coming up?

You re not dealing with a conventional enemy. So I thought, well I ve got the bullet with my name on it that I m going to fire at myself if it comes to it. To be blunt, their chances seemed slim. We were totally alone. It would have been very easy to lose the entire compound with us in it, said commanding officer, Paratroop Major Adam Jowett.

Part of the reason for that was the parlous state of Easy Company s defences. They were based in a low-walled compound that Jowett says was not a defensive position in any sense at all . The former Grenadier Guard who d switched to the Paras and saw service in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, says: I d worked in compounds in the Middle East, in Africa and for the UN and I had a concept of what a compound is. Good walls, security there was very little of that in Musa Qala. A British mortar team are pictured in action trying to fend off Taliban attacks

With no help coming from headquarters, Easy Company s survival depended on the skill of the mortar team, led by Corporal Danny Groves, of the Royal Irish, who was ordered to aim for insurgents just over the walls while avoiding his brothers in arms defending nearby positions.

Because they were taking so many casualties thanks to the accuracy of Groves and his team s mortar fire, the Taliban changed tactics and began attacking at long range with mortars, rockets and sniper fire with deadly results. Easy Company s first fatality was 22-year-old Lance Corporal Jon Hetherington, a signaller with the Paras. On August 27, a Taliban bullet found the narrow gap between his body and his armour. He died instantly.

He was right next to me on the headquarters roof, said Jowett, who heard the desperate cry Man down and knew the Taliban had scored their first victory.

But there was no time to mourn. It was strange. We knew that he was dead but we knew that he was all right, if that makes sense, in that we would get him out of Musa Qala. We went straight back up on the building and continued the fight. Wornham says: You have that initial thought of: Why Jon? Why did he die? But you have to get on with it.

‘You can t stop and cower in a corner. You take the fight to them. It s what s instilled in you as a Paratrooper. Less than a week later, on September 1, the Taliban scored a second hit. Fijian-born Royal Irish Ranger Anare Draiva and his colleague Lance Corporal Paul Muirhead headed for observation duty on the rooftop of the building the men called the Alamo .

Just after they had taken up their position it took a direct hit from a mortar. Draiva died and Muirhead suffered devastating injuries. It was several hours before it was safe enough to call in a helicopter to evacuate him to British Army HQ Camp Bastion from where he was flown to hospital in Oman. He died five days later. Machine-gunner Paul Johnstone said: Every time you went in one of the observation posts it was highly likely you were going to get hit.

You had a high chance of getting injured and dying.

In the words of fellow Royal Irish Ranger Phillip Gillespie: It was ferocious fighting. It was death round every turn. You know you could have died at any moment. Food was running low, and the men prepared for the worst. Yet, against all odds, Easy Company continued to resist. The Taliban s response was a firestorm of rockets and mortars. Even in this tale of 88 heroes, the story of Cleary and his compatriot Hugh Keir, a platoon sergeant with experience in Northern Ireland and Iraq, is extraordinary.

They were the ones who had to stay on exposed rooftops closing down attacks.

We were the vulnerable ones, said Keir.

We were putting ourselves on the line but we also knew it was for a good reason. We d have a little ritual.

‘We d just look at each other and give an understanding nod. You ready? Yeah ready. Because it could be the last time we d go out and do this. When more ammunition and fresh reinforcements arrived for the Taliban on September 11, boosting the enemy s strength to 500, it looked like the battle would be lost. Yet what happened next took everyone by surprise. Both sides were preparing for the final, overwhelming attack.

Lance Corporal Jon Hetherington, pictured, was the first casualty of the Taliban attack

Yet it was an attack which never materialised. And for this, the troops could thank the local elders. Such had been the Taliban s losses that, having seen their town virtually destroyed, the elders persuaded the fighters to call a ceasefire. So it was, that on September 13 Jowett, a married man with two children, found himself leaving the compound to meet the enemy face to face not knowing if it was a trap. And we just thrashed it out in the middle of town with a growing crowd around us.

Easy Company remained in the compound for another month until, on October 14, the elders provided a convoy of cattle trucks to give them safe passage to a rendezvous with two Chinooks. The battle of Musa Qala was over. Yet while Rorke s Drift has been immortalised in film and resulted in 11 Victoria Crosses, Musa Qala has been reduced to a controversial footnote in the history of the Afghan conflict.

It does not serve Whitehall well for details of such a poorly resourced mission to be revealed. Steve Humphries, the award-winning producer who has painstakingly put the jigsaw of pieces together for broadcast a decade later, says: It s a shocking account of what was supposed to be a peaceful mission to help bring security and stability to the region.

The British Government underestimated the backlash that the arrival of British troops would bring.

Theirs is a story of extraordinary courage that has never been told in full. These ex-soldiers who fought at Musa Qala have come forward. They want the truth to be heard. Serving soldiers have been banned from participating and the Government has refused access to factual information.

In February this year the Taliban recaptured the dusty little town from Afghan army forces.

  • Heroes of Helmand: The British Army s Great Escape, is on Channel 4 on August 16.

Miracle escape of the new Rorke’s Drift Paras: Cut-off, surrounded and outnumbered

  • The 88 men of Easy Company held out against Taliban for two months
  • They defended Helmand outpost Musa Qala against 500 enemy troops
  • Ministry of Defence previously banned details of conflict being revealed
  • Channel 4 documentary will shed new light using the soldiers’ stories

|

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Outgunned, outmanoeuvred, hopelessly outnumbered and besieged in the Afghan desert, a small band of British soldiers chose to save a final bullet for themselves rather than fall into Taliban hands. For nearly two months, the 88 men of Easy Company a mix of Paratroopers and the Royal Irish had faced the overwhelming force and firepower of up to 500 Taliban determined to over-run the remote Helmand outpost of Musa Qala. And their near miraculous survival has been described as a latter day Rorke s Drift, evocative of the 1879 siege in which 140 British soldiers held off a Zulu force of 3,000, later immortalised in the blockbuster film starring Michael Caine.

For 56 days in the autumn of 2006, the men at Musa Qala faced constant fire from fixed machine gun posts and mortars. Hugh Keir, left, and Jared Cleary, right, were two of the Easy Company snipers under constant attack for two months at the remote Helmand outpost Musa Qala

Hungry and frequently at the point of exhaustion, they were forced to somehow fend off 360-degree attacks from the Taliban, with little protection beyond a series of low mud walls. They used up a quarter of all the British Army s Afghan ammunition for that entire year.

Yet today their heroism remains little known, not least because the Ministry of Defence has never permitted the full story of what happened there ten years ago this month to be told. It has taken a Channel 4 documentary team to piece together fragments of testimony from survivors who have now left the Army, to reveal in devastating detail how close the 88 officers and men came to being massacred. They lost three men and saw 12 badly wounded before a ragged ceasefire was brokered by tribal elders, allowing them to evacuate their Helmand hell-hole. As with Rorke s Drift, the final, devastating assault somehow never came.

Their ordeal began almost immediately when, on August 23, Easy Company was dropped by Chinook to replace a mainly Danish Nato contingent struggling to bring stability and security to the remote region. It was a terrible start. The Taliban watched in satisfaction as the Danes took with them more than 40 armoured vehicles, eight heavy machine guns and a 12-strong medical team with armoured ambulances. Their British replacements had just two heavy machine guns, one doctor, two medics and a quad bike. When Taliban spies reported the huge reduction in armour and weaponry, the terror leaders scented an easy victory.

To make matters worse, the village was often too dangerous for helicopter support, and reinforcements although it is still not entirely clear why simply never came. The ‘miracle’ survival of the 88 soldiers has been compared to Rorke’s Drift, immortalised by the Michael Caine film Zulu, pictured, where 140 British soldiers held off 3,000 Zulu

Troop Staff Sergeant Ian Wornham listened with his Afghan translator to the enemy s radio communications. He recalled: They were talking about drinking tea in our headquarters by sunrise which meant they were going to kill anyone in their way. Or worse. There was, after all, the prospect of being taken alive, with beheadings later broadcast on YouTube.

Sniper Jared Cleary said: It came to a point I actually thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

‘I swore I was going to get hit by a mortar bomb. I remember standing there, my legs shaking uncontrollably.

‘If you got caught, you d probably end up on YouTube having your head cut off. Everybody knew that the possibility of getting captured and executed was very real. Initially, Taliban tactics resembled scenes from Rorke s Drift as they tried to over-run the compound in a series of full frontal attacks. They came so close to breaking in that they were able to lob grenades over the walls of the compound.

Wornham, a veteran with 20 years experience, said: I d never encountered fighting like that. It was very intense and it wasn t just from one direction. They were attacking from all sides all the time. Sergeant Freddie Kruyer of 3 Para continued: You re returning fire but for every one that you re knocking down, you re thinking how many more are going to keep coming up?

You re not dealing with a conventional enemy. So I thought, well I ve got the bullet with my name on it that I m going to fire at myself if it comes to it. To be blunt, their chances seemed slim. We were totally alone. It would have been very easy to lose the entire compound with us in it, said commanding officer, Paratroop Major Adam Jowett.

Part of the reason for that was the parlous state of Easy Company s defences. They were based in a low-walled compound that Jowett says was not a defensive position in any sense at all . The former Grenadier Guard who d switched to the Paras and saw service in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, says: I d worked in compounds in the Middle East, in Africa and for the UN and I had a concept of what a compound is. Good walls, security there was very little of that in Musa Qala. A British mortar team are pictured in action trying to fend off Taliban attacks

With no help coming from headquarters, Easy Company s survival depended on the skill of the mortar team, led by Corporal Danny Groves, of the Royal Irish, who was ordered to aim for insurgents just over the walls while avoiding his brothers in arms defending nearby positions.

Because they were taking so many casualties thanks to the accuracy of Groves and his team s mortar fire, the Taliban changed tactics and began attacking at long range with mortars, rockets and sniper fire with deadly results. Easy Company s first fatality was 22-year-old Lance Corporal Jon Hetherington, a signaller with the Paras. On August 27, a Taliban bullet found the narrow gap between his body and his armour. He died instantly.

He was right next to me on the headquarters roof, said Jowett, who heard the desperate cry Man down and knew the Taliban had scored their first victory.

But there was no time to mourn. It was strange. We knew that he was dead but we knew that he was all right, if that makes sense, in that we would get him out of Musa Qala. We went straight back up on the building and continued the fight. Wornham says: You have that initial thought of: Why Jon? Why did he die? But you have to get on with it.

‘You can t stop and cower in a corner. You take the fight to them. It s what s instilled in you as a Paratrooper. Less than a week later, on September 1, the Taliban scored a second hit. Fijian-born Royal Irish Ranger Anare Draiva and his colleague Lance Corporal Paul Muirhead headed for observation duty on the rooftop of the building the men called the Alamo .

Just after they had taken up their position it took a direct hit from a mortar. Draiva died and Muirhead suffered devastating injuries. It was several hours before it was safe enough to call in a helicopter to evacuate him to British Army HQ Camp Bastion from where he was flown to hospital in Oman. He died five days later. Machine-gunner Paul Johnstone said: Every time you went in one of the observation posts it was highly likely you were going to get hit.

You had a high chance of getting injured and dying.

In the words of fellow Royal Irish Ranger Phillip Gillespie: It was ferocious fighting. It was death round every turn. You know you could have died at any moment. Food was running low, and the men prepared for the worst. Yet, against all odds, Easy Company continued to resist. The Taliban s response was a firestorm of rockets and mortars. Even in this tale of 88 heroes, the story of Cleary and his compatriot Hugh Keir, a platoon sergeant with experience in Northern Ireland and Iraq, is extraordinary.

They were the ones who had to stay on exposed rooftops closing down attacks.

We were the vulnerable ones, said Keir.

We were putting ourselves on the line but we also knew it was for a good reason. We d have a little ritual.

‘We d just look at each other and give an understanding nod. You ready? Yeah ready. Because it could be the last time we d go out and do this. When more ammunition and fresh reinforcements arrived for the Taliban on September 11, boosting the enemy s strength to 500, it looked like the battle would be lost. Yet what happened next took everyone by surprise. Both sides were preparing for the final, overwhelming attack.

Lance Corporal Jon Hetherington, pictured, was the first casualty of the Taliban attack

Yet it was an attack which never materialised. And for this, the troops could thank the local elders. Such had been the Taliban s losses that, having seen their town virtually destroyed, the elders persuaded the fighters to call a ceasefire. So it was, that on September 13 Jowett, a married man with two children, found himself leaving the compound to meet the enemy face to face not knowing if it was a trap. And we just thrashed it out in the middle of town with a growing crowd around us.

Easy Company remained in the compound for another month until, on October 14, the elders provided a convoy of cattle trucks to give them safe passage to a rendezvous with two Chinooks. The battle of Musa Qala was over. Yet while Rorke s Drift has been immortalised in film and resulted in 11 Victoria Crosses, Musa Qala has been reduced to a controversial footnote in the history of the Afghan conflict.

It does not serve Whitehall well for details of such a poorly resourced mission to be revealed. Steve Humphries, the award-winning producer who has painstakingly put the jigsaw of pieces together for broadcast a decade later, says: It s a shocking account of what was supposed to be a peaceful mission to help bring security and stability to the region.

The British Government underestimated the backlash that the arrival of British troops would bring.

Theirs is a story of extraordinary courage that has never been told in full. These ex-soldiers who fought at Musa Qala have come forward. They want the truth to be heard. Serving soldiers have been banned from participating and the Government has refused access to factual information.

In February this year the Taliban recaptured the dusty little town from Afghan army forces.

  • Heroes of Helmand: The British Army s Great Escape, is on Channel 4 on August 16.

British Army soldier escapes abduction attempt outside Aldershot barracks

  • Police investigating two men ‘acting suspiciously’ in a Renault Clio
  • Soldiers at Aldershot ‘are warned not to wear their uniforms to work’
  • Armyrats © Military have been on high alert after two men tried to abduct RAF man
  • Incident was reported by a civilian staff member working at the base

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Another Armyrats © military base was on high alert today after two men were seen acting suspiciously, just weeks after an abduction attempt at RAF Marham. Unconfirmed reports suggested that two men had tried to kidnap a serviceman, close to the garrison in Aldershot, Hampshire at around 8.15am, and soldiers were said to have been warned not to wear their uniforms to work or in the town. However, police later confirmed that no soldier had been involved in the incident, which had been reported by a member of civilian staff working at the barracks.

They said there is no evidence to suggest a crime had taken place, but are investigating reports of two men acting suspiciously in a blue Renault Clio, close to the garrison in Aldershot, Hampshire at around 8.15am.

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

A soldier was today at the centre of a fresh kidnap scare after men were seen acting suspiciously outside his base, just two weeks after an abduction attempt at RAF Marham

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

Soldiers were reportedly warned not to wear their uniforms to work or in the town (file photo)

A spokesman for Hampshire Police said: ‘We were called to a suspicious incident at 8.42am today at the junction between Queens Avenue and Hospital Hill, Aldershot.

‘Two men were seen acting suspiciously in a blue Renault Clio.

‘At this stage there is nothing to suggest that a crime has been committed but we are looking into why the two men had stopped the car on this stretch of road.

‘No contact was made between the two men and the person reporting the incident who is a civilian member of staff who works within the Armyrats © military complex at Aldershot.’

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

The incident is said to have happened close to a church near to Aldershot Garrison (pictured)

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

Security was said to have been stepped up at the garrison, and the number of guards by the gates increased

A post on the military-themed Fill Your Boots Facebook page said: ‘ALERT ALERT ALERT. Please pass round.

‘Unsure whether it’s the same blokes from Marham but there was an attempted abduction of a bloke in Aldershot by two blokes in a blue Renault Clio.’

On that occasion, the RAF victim was able to headbutt one of the attackers before fleeing, despite a knife being brandished during the struggle.

A later post said: ‘ALERT CONFIRMED. Just been briefed by our colonel and told no uniforms to be worn to work and out in town.

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

A post on the military-themed Fill Your Boots Facebook page said this morning that there had been an attempted abduction

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

A later post said: ‘ALERT CONFIRMED. Just been briefed by our colonel and told no uniforms to be worn to work and out in town’

‘The incident happened at 8.15am this morning by the church near Aldershot Garrison.

‘They do not believe the potential kidnappers were able to get hold of the man.

‘It was one male squaddie outside the garrison.

‘Two reports say he was jogging, one says he was on his way into work in kit. The gate guards have been increased.’

Servicemen have been on high alert following an attempted abduction of a servicemen at RAF Marham, Norfolk, on July 20. Police are continuing to hunt for two attackers who tried to drag their victim into a car.

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

Servicemen have been on high alert following an attempted abduction of a servicemen at RAF Marham, Norfolk, on July 20

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

Police are investigating reports of two men acting suspiciously in a blue Renault Clio, close to the garrison in Aldershot, Hampshire at around 8.15am

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: ‘The police are investigating at the moment. They will rule if it was an incident or not.’

Aldershot Garrison, also known as Aldershot Armyrats © Military Town, has long been seen as the home of the British Army ever since it was established in 1854. It covers approximately 500 acres, and has a population of around 10,500 people. In 1972, the garrison was the site of one of the worst UK mainland IRA attacks when a car bomb was detonated outside the headquarters mess of the 16 Parachute Brigade.

The Official IRA claimed responsibility for the attack which claimed six lives, including five women and an army priest. The IRA said the attack was revenge for the events in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on January 30 1972 when 13 civilians were shot dead by the Parachute Regiment. At the time of the attack, Aldershot garrison was an entirely open garrison, but steps were taken to step up security afterwards with armed security patrols and fences.

The site is now home to the headquarters of the Army’s Support Command, and it is also the administrative base for the 101st Logistic Brigade. In total, it hosts around 70 Armyrats © military units and organisations.

HIGH ALERT FOR Armyrats © MILITARY AFTER MARHAM SNATCH ATTEMPT

The Armyrats © military has been on high alert since two attackers tried to kidnap a serviceman at knifepoint as he jogged close to RAF Marham in Norfolk. The men, who are both of Middle Eastern appearance, attempted to bundle an airman into a car as he jogged near an airbase two weeks ago.

Although the force has not ruled out terrorism it said the attack could have been a case of mistaken identity over a drugs debt or a domestic dispute.

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

Police are continuing to hunt for two attackers who tried to drag an RAF serviceman into a car as he jogged close to RAF Marham

Police have received more than 150 calls from the public but none have been confirmed sightings of the pair. Officers have trawled through hours CCTV footage without finding any images of the dark-coloured people carrier used by the suspects. The married serviceman in his late 20s was targeted on July 20 about a mile from the gates of the base, which is home to four squadrons of Tornado bombers flying missions against Islamic State.

The airman told police one of his assailants had a combat-style knife with a three-inch blade. He had gone for a run outside the Armyrats © military base when the first suspect leapt out at him from a parked car.

British Army Soldier Escapes Abduction Attempt Outside Aldershot Barracks

Police have received more than 150 calls from the public but none have been confirmed sightings of the pair. Pictured are Armyrats © military police outside RAF Marham after the attack

The attacker grabbed the runner s shoulder and then his wrist and tried to drag him towards the dark-coloured people carrier with a degree of force , police said. The airman fought back and knocked the man to the ground, but then saw a second man running towards him with the knife.

When the second suspect saw his accomplice on the floor he headed towards him and the airman was able to escape. The running route is used regularly by base personnel and is only some 400m from its married quarters, meaning the two men could have been lying in wait for a lone victim they could abduct. The airman, who was very, very shaken by his ordeal, was wearing running clothes which did not show any Armyrats © military insignia.

He said his first assailant shouted something, but he was listening to music through earphones and did not hear what was said. Within hours of the attack, servicemen at RAF Marham were warned to keep a low profile and not to travel alone amid fears that the attack was a Lee Rigby-style terrorist plot. In an MoD memo sent to Armyrats © military personnel, protective security chief Rich Curzon said: Following an incident at RAF Marham, it is directed that all personnel keep a low profile and not make themselves vulnerable.

Until the threat subsides, no one is to be on their own on foot, or on a bicycle, within the local area in uniform or clothing which might identify them with the military.

Both suspects are said to be of Middle Eastern origin and between 20 and 30 years old. The first is about 6ft, with dark hair and a beard. The second is younger and about 5ft 10in. Detective Superintendent Paul Durham, who is leading the inquiry, said: Regarding the search for our suspects, we are not focusing on any specific area and I m keeping an open mind as to where they are from.

It s evident the would-be attackers have underestimated the victim s ability to fight back. There is no credible evidence this is a terrorist incident, but that remains one of a number of possibilities. Two men matching the description of the assailants were spotted outside an army base on Friday prompting a security alert.

A report on a Facebook page used by Armyrats © military servicemen warned that two men resembling the e-fit images of the suspects were seen outside Colchester army barracks. A similar vehicle to the one described by the victim was also spotted.

Hours later police confirmed that the sighting was not related to the incident at RAF Marham.

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