Tuesday, May 19, 2009
CORPORAL Ian Evans enjoys a welcome-home kiss — as the last Army combat troops serving in Iraq arrived home yesterday.
The final homecoming of heroes from C Company, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, signals relief for thousands of forces families after six long years.
Amid emotional scenes at their barracks in Paderborn, Germany,Cpl Evans embraced wife Amy and two-year-old daughter Page and said: “It’s good to be back.”
Amy, 23, added: “I missed him loads. It’s been difficult.”
Fittingly, the battalion is the Army’s most decorated after their heroics during three Iraq tours.
Private Brian Wottrich, 19, of Southampton, said: “It feels like I’m part of something historic.” Their commander, Major Giles Francke, added: “I’m proud and happy to have my troops back.”
The soldiers, dubbed the Armoured Tigers, guarded the final convoy of military equipment to cross the border to Kuwait.
Only a few hundred logistics troops and RAF Regiment soldiers remain in Basra, southern Iraq, as the final British parts of the air base there are packed.
A further 400 Royal Navy sailors are staying on at the port of Umm Qasr, to train the fledgling Iraqi Navy.