Germany

COVID: How Has British Forces Community In Germany Found Lockdown?

We spoke to people at Sennelager Training Centre about their experiences of the restrictions.

Members of one German-based British Forces community have been telling Forces News about how they have coped with a year of COVID restrictions and lockdowns.

It comes as the vaccine rollout has begun for British forces and UK-based civilian personnel there.

COVID-19 jabs have been delivered at the Sennelager Medical Centre, with the initial phase focusing on older members of the community.

However, UK troops based in the country will still have to wait for Berlin to decide on its route out of lockdown, which continues to be difficult to forecast.

Forces News reporter Rob Olver spoke to people at Sennelager Training Centre - the Army's main base in Germany.

Colonel Tim Hill, Commander British Army (Germany) told Forces News about the importance of "keeping everybody safe" and keeping everybody "fit and healthy", but also mentioned the significance of "protecting the reputation of the British Army".

"If we’d got it wrong and if we had a huge outbreak and we clearly were not on top of our game and keeping a lid on things, then we could have come under considerable pressure, and quite rightly so," he explained.

For Ailsa Veale of the Army Welfare Service, lockdown has meant time away from loved ones.

She told Forces News: "We haven’t seen my husband's family, or my daughter's grandparents, since February last year."

Garrison Chaplain, Reverend Richard Downes said: "Speaking to soldiers and officers, perhaps a sense of their careers being put on hold because of being held back in this situation of the pandemic".

Amanda Rearden from the Unit Welfare Team said: "I would have been lost without Whatsapp and those sorts of services.

"I’ve got a son with learning disabilities in the UK. He had a placement at a university, that all came to an abrupt end last year, so it’s been really difficult to try and stay positive for him."