LONDON — Hours after a British soldier in Afghanistan told medics she was suffering from stomach pains, the Royal Artillery gunner unexpectedly gave birth to a boy — the first child ever born in combat to a member of Britain’s armed forces.
Britain’s defense ministry said today the soldier told authorities she had not been aware she was pregnant and only consulted doctors on the day that she went into labor.
The soldier, who arrived in Afghanistan in March, delivered the child Tuesday at Camp Bastion, the vast desert camp in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province where Prince Harry is deployed and a Taliban attack last week killed two U.S. Marines.
The U.K. does not allow female soldiers to deploy on operation if they are pregnant. Although the soldier’s child was conceived before her tour of duty began in March, she is not likely to face censure.
The soldier, a citizen of Fiji, is one of about 500 British military women serving in Afghanistan. She is also among around 2,000 Fijians who serve in the British military, even though the country became independent from Britain in 1970.