The role of a padre serving with the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department (RAChD) is to minister to soldiers and their families, to give them pastoral, spiritual and moral support. The padres are commissioned as chaplains but wear officers’ rank, leaders but without command. They are sent wherever soldiers are sent, and are moved individually between units every two to three years.
The Reverend Alan Steele MBE is in his early fifties and is the senior padre of 16 Air Assault Brigade based in Colchester. The interview is in his book-lined Army quarter where his two teenage children serve us tea and ginger biscuits.
Steele had his first tour of duty to Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment (2 Para) in 2001/2002.