These soldiers dressed as GRANNIES and had their legs waxed and hands manicured for an undercover training mission.
Nobody raised an eyebrow as Riflemen Jordan Bryce and Chris Edwards mingled with shoppers unaware of their secret identities.
The deception was part of a training exercise designed to make the soldiers think on their feet.
They had to get from Birmingham to a rendezvous in London undetected by a rival Army unit without a penny to their name.
Bryce and Edwards, both 23 and serving with 4th battalion The Rifles, turned up in Birmingham in civvies.
But they needed something better to escape the eagle eyes of their ‘hunter force’ pursuers.
The pair, who are based at Bulford Camp, Wiltshire, headed for University College Birmingham and asked for help.
Theatrical and Media Make-Up students went to work until the riflemen were barely recognisable in wigs, glasses and a full face of make-up.
“It was quite remarkable,” an onlooker told the Birmingham Mail. “They came in looking like young lads on a weekend away.
“But they went out looking like little old ladies dressed for a night out at bingo. It was amazing.”
Professor Ray Linforth, Vice Chancellor and Principal, added: “We were delighted to help the two soldiers.
“University College Birmingham has a tremendous reputation for our work in theatrical and media make-up so our students weren’t daunted by the task of helping two burly soldiers adopt convincing disguises.”
The quick-thinking sharpshooters scored extra points by successfully completing a number of unconventional Army challenges – keeping in character to the extent of getting their legs waxed and having a manicure.
The last task on the list was to find somewhere to rest their heads.
No points were awarded for “sleeping rough” so the hunt was on to find a hotel willing to put the soldiers up for the night, free of charge.
The Ibis, just a stone’s throw from UCB, stepped into the fray.
Next morning the soldiers secured a lift to London courtesy of a college employee who was driving to the capital and successfully made their way to the meeting point.
Bryce and Edwards, whose battalion returned from a six-month tour of Helmand Province, Afghanistan in October, were one of several two-man teams dropped off across the West Midlands as part of the training exercise.
“The mission involved getting to a London rendezvous undetected by a rival Army unit following the completion of imaginative challenges,” said an Army aide.
“It was a serious operation designed to test the riflemen’s ability to think on their feet, problem-solve and communicate.
“These are all qualities their regiment strives to develop.”
Read more: Mirror News