A KENDAL Army Reservist has been training in the harsh suptropical bushland of Australia in one of the first military exercises of its kind.

Kingsman Lewis Birchall, who normally works as a welder, spent a week living and working outdoors in the land surrounding Lone Pine Barracks – home to the Australian Army School of Infantry.

Lewis, 25, has been living under canvas and patrolling under the vast skies of New South Wales - a far cry from his day job at Pier 1 Metalworks, Kendal.

He was among a Platoon of 30 Reservists from the 4th Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (4 LANCS) to undertake the exercise alongside Reservists of the Australian Army - the first time a British Army Reserve unit has been invited to do so.

At Lone Pine Barracks the soldiers were sent into the bush with a checklist of warnings about the local wildlife, including boot-piercing cactus thorns, venomous snakes and even a potentially aggressive kangaroo population numbering thousands.

Lewis, who joined the Reserves three years ago and has served in Afghanistan, added: “I thought this would be a good way to an exciting life; I like new experiences.”