20/09/2012 07:14 BST | Updated 20/09/2012 08:41 BST

Camp Bastion Birth: 'Name The Baby Bastion', Suggests Former Soldier Major Charles Heyman

The baby boy born on the British Army base in Helmand Province should be called “Bastion”, a military expert has suggested.

Former soldier Major Charles Heyman was referring to the child born on the Afghan base on Tuesday.

His unnamed mother, believed to be from Fiji originally, reportedly did not know she was pregnant until she complained of stomach pains and was taken to medics.

Major Heyman called for more rigorous checks on women going to frontline duties to ensure they are not pregnant because of the risks to their welfare.

He said: "The Army needs to make sure for the welfare of the female soldier concerned that they are not pregnant before they deploy.

"I'm not an expert on pregnancy but I'm told that is to easy to tell that a woman is pregnant with a visit to a doctors' surgery and a urine test and that should perhaps be looked at before women go out on operations.

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The solider is understood to have been unaware of her pregnancy and was five months into her tour of duty when she gave birth

"This whole situation does surprise me. Whatever rules you put down, there is also someone who slips by to have a baby in an operational theatre, but it's quite unusual.

"This sort of thing makes life difficult for everyone else but the important thing is the welfare of the female soldier. This could have gone wrong and we don't know if the attack on Camp Bastion might have forced the birth.

"It's maybe that the excitement of the tour masked the symptoms of the pregnancy, but I know it's not a good thing for a woman or the baby to be born there. It's not like they have a maternity wing out there.

"Perhaps because of that the baby should be called Bastion."


Maj Heyman said the training and checks undergone by the woman would not have picked up a problem as it was too early.

"All soldiers going out to theatre go through training and checks. But as far as I can make out she was out there for four or five months before she gave birth and was pregnant when she deployed.

"A lot of the training for her was six months before she went out.

"She was also based at Camp Bastion which, relative to the rest of Afghanistan, is a peaceable place despite the recent attack and not a hell-hole like Nad-e Ali.

"Also the physical requirements for logistics personnel are different from frontline infantry who are basically athletes.

"Logistics personnel need to be fit but the situation is different for them."