18 MAY 2007

While he is not to be deployed to Iraq with his Blues and Royals comrades, Harry may still see active service - in Sierra Leone.

The decision to send the Prince to the West African nation, where he would be tasked with training soldiers and helping rebuild the country in the wake of its brutal civil war, is apparently being mooted to stop him becoming bitter over barrack life in London and Windsor. "There is a real job to do in Sierra Leone and he could say that he has done his duty," says a military source.

Despite knowing the decision over his role in Iraq would be a last-minute one, the Prince apparently became convinced as the months went by that he would still go. And he's told friends he hopes he'll be sent to join his regiment in secret.

"Harry does reluctantly understand why the decision has been made, but he is desperate to ensure he sees active service on the front line at some point in the future," reveals a source close to the Prince. "He is much prouder and pluckier than people give him credit for."

If the Sierra Leone plan falls through, Army bosses are understood to be keen to find something else for the 22-year-old to do apart from his regular duties. "The obvious option is parachute training," a senior defence source told one British newspaper. "But there is a miscellany of courses for him to do - anything from fire officer to health and safety to accounts."

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The 22-year-old Prince, who was reportedly "beside himself" after learning that he will remain in the UK when his fellow soldiers ship out, may be sent to Sierra Leone Photo: © AFPClick on photo to enlarge

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