TWO young soldiers from Stanley were part of the Army's task force helping to keep the peace in Northern Ireland during the recent Orangemen's parades.

Privates Simon Owen and Wayne Jenkinson of the 1st Battalion the Light Infantry, were helping to support the RUC as Drumcree braced itself for the annual Orange Order marches.

Pte Owen and Pte Jenkinson, both 22, said that they were not unduly concerned about their secondment to Ulster's peace-keeping forces.

In fact the only complaint from Pte Owen, a former Tanfield Lea Comprehensive pupil, was the cramped living quarters for the British troops deployed in the country.

He said: "We're here to provide whatever support the RUC need and we will do the best job we can.

"For most of the time we have been living in tented accommodation known as tent city.

"There can be anything between eight and 22 people in a tent and it can get a bit cramped.

"In recent days, though, many of the soldiers have been living out in the field. We are suffering a bit from lack of sleep but, generally speaking, spirits are high."

Pte Jenkinson admitted the situation could be a little frightening at times.

He said: "When we are out on the ground we are mainly faced with outbreaks of public disorder but there is also the possibility of an increased terrorist threat."

The troops received special training prior to their arrival in Northern Ireland - and not all of it was aimed at improving military skills.

It also made sure they understood the political and local difficulties so that they were better prepared to tackle the problems of keeping an uneasy peace