A THORNEY Island-based servicewoman who gave birth in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, has returned to the UK.
Lance Bombardier Lynette Pearce, who is based at Baker Barracks, Thorney Island, Emsworth, gave birth to a son last week.
The baby was born five weeks early at Camp Bastion after the soldier complained of severe stomach pains. She had been unaware of her pregnancy.
Until then she had been fighting the Taliban and taking part in the usual military fitness training, including a gruelling eight-mile march with a 25lb backpack.
Lance Bombardier Pearce, who is part of 12 Regiment, Royal Artillery, has now been flown, accompanied by specialist paediatric medics, out of the warzone and back to the UK where mother and son are said to be doing well.
They are understood to be at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Lance Bombardier Pearce is originally from Fiji and is the daughter of a former policeman in the town of Nadi.
She captained Fiji’s women’s football team from 2007 to 2009.
She left the country several years ago to fulfil her ambition of joining the army.
After she came to Britain and completed her basic training, she was given the rank of Gunner.
After passing out she was posted to Baker Barracks which is home to 12 and 47 Regiments, Royal Artillery.
The units specialise in providing long-range reconnaissance and aerial support to infantry soldiers in Afghanistan.
The regiments have strong links to the community and take part in Emsworth’s St George’s Day celebrations.
Speaking to a Sunday newspaper, an unnamed friend said: ‘Everyone is congratulating her and is really happy for Lynette.
‘We are absolutely stunned at her amazing news. She can’t believe it and neither can we. Her life is going to totally change.
‘I can’t wait to see her. She is getting a lot of support from all her friends and family in Britain and in her regiment. She loves the army and was very keen to fight in Afghanistan.
‘She is determined and committed. Now I am sure she will put her son first.’
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: ‘We can confirm that on September 18 a UK servicewoman serving in Afghanistan gave birth at the hospital at Camp Bastion to a baby boy.
‘It is not military policy to allow servicewomen to deploy on operations if they are pregnant. In this instance the MoD was unaware of her pregnancy.’