A LOCAL soldier has been honing his military skills in a live firing exercise in Northumberland.
Pte Ross Barber, of Cleckheaton, joined the Fire Support Company of the 1st Battalion The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment as they took a break from their duties in Northern Ireland to fire mortars, anti-tank weapons and machine- guns on the Otterburn training area.
Pte Barber, 23, a former pupil of Whitcliffe Mount High School, Cleckheaton, joined the Army three years ago and took the opportunity of the exercise to fire an anti-tank missile for the third time.
He said: "Firing the anti-tank missile gives you a real buzz. It really takes your breath away."
The regiment, which recruits in North, West and East Yorkshire, is preparing to return to home territory.
"We are due to return home to Catterick in North Yorkshire next year after we complete our tour of duty in Northern Ireland," said Maj Paul McNicholas, the Officer Commanding the Fire Support Company.
"It is important to keep up our military skills, so we are prepared to play a full role when we join 19 (Mechanised) Brigade in Catterick."
Pte Barber's brother Gareth serves with the Royal Artillery in Iraq.