A SOLDIER who went to school in Winterbourne has been commended for the photographs he has taken during a tour of Afghanistan.

Airtrooper Jamie Cruickshank has completed his fourth tour in Helmand Province with the Apache detachment, 654 Squadron.

The 26-year-old, originally from Bradley Stoke and a former pupil of The Ridings High School (now Winterbourne International Academy) has completed his first Op HERRICK tour with the squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps (AAC).

During the tour, Jamie’s first, he was given the opportunity to improve his photography skills when he was approached by the Joint Aviation Group (JAG) and asked to be their photographer. He has since received a commendation for putting his photographic skills to good use outside of working hours for the benefit of the JAG.

He said: “I bought a new Nikon DSLR camera prior to deploying to help me improve and learn more photography skills on the job.

“The Army saw some of my photography work and asked if I wanted the role of JAG photographer.

“Essentially this means that I cover any of our big events that require media coverage. I take the photos and edit and process them.”

Jamie’s primary role during the tour was as a signaller and aviation communications specialist with the Apache detachment based at Wattisham Airfield, Suffolk.

“As a signaller I work on the flight line and communicate with the helicopters over the radio to keep them updated on the various taskings and current situations, advising them of any changes or updates,” he said.

Jamie joined the Army in 2008 having always wanted to be involved in aviation from a very young age. He trained for two years with the AAC and spent four months training in California, USA with the Apache detachment in preparation for this tour.

He said he was looking forward to returning to the UK to see his mum Terri and sisters Kimberley, 24, and Briony, 16, who live in Bradley Stoke, driving his RX8 car and seeing his fiancée Nikita Maddalena who lives in Ipswich. “I can’t wait to see my fiancée,” he added. “I’ve really missed her.

“No date is set yet for the wedding, we’re currently saving up for it.”