Halfway through December I got called out to go up to Cumbria to cover the British Army's response to the flooding.
The 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's regiment elements of 21 and 22 Engineer regiment had been tasked with helping out in the local areas of Keswick, Carlisle, Appleby and Penrith.
I travelled up to Penrith to a Fire station wear the main headquarters for the military was based.
The first tasking there was to take over from another Army Phot, Cpl Pete Brown. He was on the A591 with The Royal Engineers whilst they cleared the road from the landslip caused by the heavy rainfall. They had been working through the day and were about to finish for the evening. Before I left I wanted to get some pictures of them working at night. Because of the road closure it was about a 45 min drive from the location we were at.
The location that we moved off from to the landslip site. Across the road from this pub was the hotel that the soldiers clearing the roads were staying at.
The Engineers at work clearing the road.
After getting these we headed back to the Fire station to see what was happening in the morning.
This day was to be a busy one! To start off with we went round with a few of the guys from 2 LANCS to go and visit the rural areas to see if anyone needed any help.
This driveway to a farmers home had been destroyed by the heavy rainfall.
Moving back to Keswick for our next tasking we went to see some of the soldiers clearing out a school of all the mud and debris from the overflowing river nearby.
Toys strewn about the streets from the school
Our next task was to team up with a group of people from Team Rubicon and Serve On. These guys are disaster response teams that deploy all over the world. Groups of Muslims had come from all over the North of the UK to help out with the flooding.
We made our way down into Keswick town and started to work. I captured the shots below then slung my camera behind me and helped out with the guys on the ground. I believe that you get respected more if you get stuck in with everyone else rather than staying in the background taking pictures. I would feel the same if some guy was just stood there not helping out. I know I was there to capture all this but I got what I needed and got my hands dirty with the rest of them.
Team Rubicon and Serve On's HQ
This is how high the water level had risen in the houses.
Soldiers moving to help out clearing the rubbish.
This was a children's playground that had been destroyed. It had to be taken apart and taken to the road for disposal.
It was great to see everyone working together. Things like this can help change perception of others.
Whilst on this task I got chatting to these guys. One of them said to me before they had left for Cumbria one of his Elders said to him; "When we came to this country we were fed, now it is our turn to feed"