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BAFTA Winner for Best Factual Series 2012
Series marking the ten-year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, telling the story of the conflict through the words and pictures of the young soldiers themselves.

Our War

The second film in a three part 60-minute award winning series.

Sam Farmar: Development Producer / Remote Director
About: Our War Episodes 1-3

Read More BBC.co.uk


 Watch Now! Dailymotion Our War, Episodes 1-3

Our War: Caught in the Crossfire - Series 1

  • The 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales regiment comes to terms with new rules of fighting.

Return to Death Valley - Series 2

  • C Company, 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment enter a dangerous area of Helmand. More stories from the frontline in Afghanistan, told by the young soldiers themselves.

The Lost Platoon - Series 3

BBC Three - Our War

Haunted by Helmand

By Toby Harnden, author of Dead Men Risen

The Lost Platoon' is the story of two dozen or so men from the Welsh Guards who, in 2009, found themselves in an Afghan fort deep in the Helmand badlands cut off from their comrades, with inadequate equipment and uncertainty about their mission.

It is a tale of war, leadership and death but also, remarkably, of love - for each other and, at one level, of war - that centres around a single day when the platoon was ambushed by the Taliban.

'You love each other basically,' says Lance Sergeant Leon Peek, describing the bond he and his comrades shared. Peek had to lead the platoon back to the fort, surrounded and under fire, when its commander Lieutenant Mark Evison was mortally wounded.

'I love that weapon,' says Guardsman Stuart Gizzie, who was shot in both legs, talking about his rifle. Later on, he adds: 'I loved the f---ing feeling I did, I just loved getting shot at, obviously not in that way but the feeling, the adrenaline rush.'

I first met Peek in Helmand in 2009 shortly after the incident. I visited him again in Aldershot and in his home town of Tonyrefail in the Rhonda Valley while researching my book 'Dead Men Risen'. When the book won the Orwell Prize in May this year, he was my guest at the ceremony in London - he had been demoted to lance corporal for fighting and was about to be discharged from the Army due to PTSD.

Peek, Evison and 7 Platoon take up two chapters in 'Dead Men Risen' and I have lived with their story for more than three years.

But the jerky video footage, shot by the soldiers themselves with 'helmet cam' devices, juxtaposed with their reflections on that day while sitting in their homes, makes 'The Lost Platoon' a documentary of such raw power that it moved me to tears and set my mind racing with fresh questions about how and why.

Framing the film is the achingly poignant and perceptive diary of Evison - a voice from the grave - read by actor Benedict Cumberbatch. 'The most frustrating thing is that they take us on, on their terms,' he writes soon after arriving at Haji Alem fort. It is 'almost impossible to identify the firing points' used by the Taliban and 'without that knowledge I cannot make decisions and am fairly useless'.

Just as ominous is his comment: 'There is a definite lack of steer from above as to how to play this one. I am yet to be given a definite mission and clarity as to my role out here.'

On 9 May Evison and his men set out from the fort to investigate dusty compounds being used by the Taliban. Almost immediately, however, things start to go wrong. The satellite radio won't work - it takes two weeks for spare antennae to be sent down - and the back-up Bowman radio keeps cutting out.