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Milnthorpe soldier receives freedom of South African city
A MILNTHORPE soldier has travelled to South Africa with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment to receive the Freedom of Ladysmith.
Kingsman Jack Lashley, 19, was one of 22 soldiers from the infantry unit’s three battalions, which recruit from across the North West, to take part in the trip.
Jack joined the Army in September 2009 and is a soldier with the Regiment’s 2nd Battalion, based at Weeton Barracks, near Blackpool. He has served in Cyprus, Afghanistan and Kenya.
He volunteered for the trip to South Africa because it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
He said: “My favourite part of the trip was the adventure training package which took place in the Drakensburg National Park and included white water rafting, abseiling down a series of waterfalls, and a quad bike safari.”
The Freedom of Ladysmith was awarded in recognition of the sacrifice made by members of the Duke of Lancaster’s parent regiments during the defence and eventual relief of the town during the 1899–1902 Boer War.
The soldiers took part in the Freedom ceremony, parading with other military units from South Africa before the city’s Mayor.
The trip also saw the party take in an extensive battlefield tour, seeing many historic sites including the Spion Kop where the British lost 1,500 soldiers.
But among the most demanding of the trip’s commitments was the Swartkop Challenge; an extreme sport where teams pull a 1,300kg artillery gun up a 130m incline before firing it.
Jack said: “It was a good feeling getting the gun to the top and we finished