Combat Barbie : Katrina Hodge

Pictures by David Poole

Combat Barbie: Former Miss England’s memoir reveals nothing could crush her spirit – especially the Iraqi insurgent she felled with a single blow…

My stomach was in knots as I tottered in my kitten heels through the barracks gate. I had paid intense attention to my appearance.

My hair and make-up were perfect. I was wearing a new suit and pulling a pink suitcase. Joining the Army, after all, was no excuse to let standards slip.

Then, across the drill square on a warm summer’s day in July 2004, came a bellowing male voice: ‘Oh my God, lads,’ it boomed. ‘Combat Barbie’s arrived!’

I didn’t know it at the time, but a nickname for life had been born.

The remark was followed by raucous laughter, but I wasn’t going to be offended. I’d earned the right to be there.

The Army wasn’t my first career choice. I grew up in a village near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. My heroes were the Power Rangers, then the Spice Girls.

I was a tomboy and a girlie girl, more often than not to be found up a tree – in a dress.

Full story can be found on the DAILY MAIL website.

Hi-res images can be found on our website scopefeatures.com

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