Life on the Serbian border for Portsmouth soldiers​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ in 2000

Standing guard over Serbia, Waterlooville trooper Glen Patrick looked out at the country which has caused Kosovo so much pain.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 10:33 am
Updated Friday, 18th October 2019, 5:16 pm
Sgt Rob Clarke of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment on the Serb-Kosovo border.
Sgt Rob Clarke of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment on the Serb-Kosovo border.

This was frontline Kosovo for the men of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment. But it was as serene as Hampshire countryside, yet just a few yards away was the infamous VJ trail used by the Serb army to pull out of Kosovo in June 1999.

And just across the border in Serbia itself were the vast assembly areas for the VJ – as the Serb army was known locally. If it marched back into Kosovo, it would form up in the plains just north of Krpemj, one of the northernmost outposts held by the Tigers.

‘Half the time you don’t know where the border is in the hills. It is in the middle of nowhere,’ said 20-year-old Pte Patrick.

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‘The police often come up and have a look. You look at them and they look back at us.’

‘We are up her regularly,’ explained Sgt Rob Clarke from Portsmouth. ‘More to reassure ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​the population than anything else. People here still think the Serbs will come back some day.’