Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Last 20 Brigade combat soldiers back home

The final combat troops from 20th Armoured Brigade (known as the Iron Fist) to leave Iraq arrived home in Munster, North Germany, on Saturday where they were greeted by overjoyed family members and friends.

The 40 soldiers from 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (1 YORKS) were welcomed home from a six-month deployment to Iraq on Saturday 30 May 2009 with colourful hand-painted banners which were hung in front of the battalion's headquarters in Oxford Barracks.
In Iraq, 1 YORKS have been responsible for mentoring and training the Iraqi Army in locations across Basra province as well as guarding senior British officials in the Iraqi capital.
Officer Commanding A Company, Major Phil Bassingham-Searle, said:

"The battalion's been split between Baghdad and Basra. It's good to return and get back together. I didn't realise until today that we're the last combat troops from 20th Armoured Brigade out of Iraq. So it's good to be home, to see our families again, and the job well done by the boys.

"We've got a period of 'normalisation' back here in barracks for about 10 days, then a couple of weeks leave and then we've got some freedom parades.

"There'll be 150 soldiers on parade and it'll be nice for the people of Yorkshire to come out and show their appreciation for what the guys have done this year."

Armoured vehicle driver, Private Liam Blowman, added:

"We were the protection team for senior British and Iraqi officials. One of my jobs was as a driver for the rest of the platoon. It was a bit difficult at times because the roads can be a bit tight.

"I was in Iraq in 2007 and this time it seemed a bit more stable. You can definitely see the difference in how it was now and then."

Returning from his first tour of Iraq, Private Luke Hawkin said:

"It's good to say that 'I've been there and done that'. It was satisfying work in Baghdad, helping the General with his movements and protecting him. It was nice to be there and do our jobs professionally.

"We didn't have to fire our weapons, so to get a tour out of the way without anyone getting injured is the best bit of all.

"I'm now looking forward to a few weeks in Germany and then getting back to the UK. I can't wait to march through York, it'll be good."

Lance Corporal James Clark concluded:

"It's just nice to be back now and see the kids and family. The kids have grown up so much and changed in the six months that I've been away. Now I'm looking forward to sitting down and having a cup of Yorkshire tea in my own home."

1 YORKS will be exercising the freedom of a number of Yorkshire towns and cities at the end of July; on Tuesday 21 July 2009 they will march through York and Harrogate, and on Thursday 23 July 2009 they will parade in Hull and Beverley.

They will complete their Yorkshire homecoming with a parade in Leeds city centre on Friday 24 July 2009.

No comments: