The Sunday Times Magazine: Rocking All Over The War

Our troops in Afghanistan may be serving Queen and country, but behind the lines they’re also making hilarious spoof music videos


Kevin Murphy of B sqaudron KRH regiment (Gareth Phillips)Soldiers such as Kevin Murphy have become unlikely internet stars (Gareth Phillips)

The Squaddie Stars filmed themselves miming along to the rock band Nickelback’s hit Rockstar on a £100 Currys camcorder. It was just a bit of fun. Their mums loved it. The video — which has had more than half a million hits on YouTube — looks like M*A*S*H the musical. There’s a buff soldier with an impressive six-pack stirring his hips to the beat, another nodding along with his machinegun, and a trooper grinning on the lav. There’s a soldier in fatigues cheekily flicking through the lads’ mag Nuts, and a medic tending a ketchup wound. The climax is all 40 of them, chests flashing under the blazing Afghan sun, chanting: “Hey, hey! I wanna be a rockstar”.

Hundreds of similar MTV-style military videos are streaming online, produced by British and American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They range from the puerile to the profound. There’s the British Army’s 16th Signal Regiment lip-synching Queen’s I Want To Break Free, in drag, just like Freddie Mercury in the original video, at their Helmand base in Afghanistan; and the Royal Navy’s HMS Campbeltown belting out Bohemian Rhapsody from behind four-barrel machineguns.

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