Doug Beattie was ‘born in barracks’ in 1965, the son of a soldier in the Royal Ulster Rifles.

At the age of 16 Doug followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Royal Irish Rangers (later to become the Royal Irish Regiment). His first job was to help guard Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess in Spandau Prison in Berlin.

Via several international hot spots, including Kosovo, Doug arrived in Kuwait in 2003 as regimental sergeant major of 1 R Irish with Colonel Tim Collins as his commanding officer. In the subsequent invasion of Iraq Doug won the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery after he prevents a lynching.

In 2005 Doug was commissioned as a late entry officer and a year later is sent to Afghanistan. Initially expecting to do a desk job he quickly found himself part of a small UK force helping Afghan police try to retake the strategically-important town of Garmsir, known as the Taliban gateway to Helmand Province.

The operation was supposed to take 24 hours. It lasted two weeks. For his actions in Garmsir he is awarded the Military Cross; his patrol becoming the most decorated since Bravo Two Zero.

Doug returned to ‘Afghan’ in 2008 for a second tour. In 2010 he completed a third tour of the country.

Back home in Northern Ireland Doug stood in the 2015 elections and was elected as an Ulster Unionist Party councillor on Craigavon Borough Council representing Portadown ward.

In April 2016 – 34 years after he joined up – Doug finally severs his link with the military when he is forced to resign as a full-time reserve service officer because of his political ambitions.

In May 2016 Doug stood as an Ulster Unionist Party candidate in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections and was duly elected to represent Upper Bann; a victory tinged by the death of his fifteen-month old grandson Cameron who passes away in his sleep.

Doug has written three books: the best-selling An Ordinary Soldier and Task Force Helmand about his military adventures, and Reaper, a work of fiction.