Two brothers in the Royal Navy have been deployed on the same ship to Sierra Leone in the UK military’s effort to battle the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
Danny and Charlie Holmes, of Thetford, say it is ‘surreal’ they are both serving on aviation support ship RFA Argus as part of the humanitarian aid response to the outbreak.
It is 22-year-old Charlie’s first ever deployment in the navy and it was only by chance that his brother happened to join him.
Danny, 24, a weapons engineer, said: “When he found out he was going to Sierra Leone I started to take the mick as brothers do.
“But then I got the call to replace someone onboard and that quickly stopped me laughing.
“There were some family concerns about Charlie going to Sierra Leone as his first deployment but now he’s got his salty older brother to look after him.
“I’m so used to seeing Charlie at home but now he’s here on the same ship as me and that’s just surreal.”
Charlie, an aircraft engineering technician, said: “I was a little nervous about going on my first ship as I’m sure every new sailor is, but having Danny along to show me the ropes is a bonus.
“It’s especially good as I’m in a nine man mess and he’s in a cabin so I can go and visit him when I need a break.”
The pair, who went to Charles Burrell High School, have followed a family tradition of joining the Royal Navy as their father and grandfather previously served at sea.
Danny admits he was concerned about their mission due to stories in the media about the Ebola outbreak.
He added: “Since we left the UK we’ve had so many briefings, and so much training, that we know we are unlikely to even come close to anyone with Ebola and that has been really reassuring.”