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The poet, the soldiers and a unique portrait of war for these times

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Poet Andrew Motion talked to returning Desert Rats about their experiences in Afghanistan for a series of collaborative poems

One hundred years after the war to end all wars, young British soldiers are still coming home from battlefields, just as their fathers and grandfathers did. Last week, the union jack was lowered for the last time at Camp Bastion, a desert settlement the size of Reading that has been HQ of UK operations in Afghanistan since 2006. Of the many thousands of troops who passed through Camp Bastion, 453 would die in Afghanistan, with many more mutilated, injured and traumatised.

On Sunday, Remembrance Day, veterans of Britains fourth Afghan war, a conflict that according to a BBC poll 68% of Britons consider to have been not worthwhile, will salute the flag, stiffen to attention at the sound of the Last Post and remember the dead.

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