Gallery: Ipswich Town stars Paul Anderson, Jonny Williams and Tyrone Mings discover military life at Colchester’s Merville Barracks ahead of Portman Road Remembrance service

Ipswich Town football players Tyrone Mings, Jonny Williams and Paul Anderson go through parachuting

Ipswich Town football players Tyrone Mings, Jonny Williams and Paul Anderson go through parachuting drills while visiting the 7th Para RHA regiment at Colchester Garrison on Thursday, 6 November. - Credit: Su Anderson

Ipswich Town footballers gained a valuable insight into military life when visiting soldiers in Colchester today.

Midfielders Paul Anderson and Jonny Williams and defender Tyrone Mings visited the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (7 Para RHA) at Colchester’s Merville Barracks.

The footballers were shown 7 Para RHA’s equipment, including the 105mm Light Gun; joined troops doing ground training for parachuting; and climbed aboard the camp’s Dakota – the aircraft used for Second World War parachute operations.

It comes just two days before the airborne gunners make the return trip to Ipswich for a First World War Centenary Remembrance service at Portman Road before Town’s game against Watford. Sixteen troops will line up with both sets of players at the centre circle for a minutes’ silence before kick-off.

Tyrone Mings said: “It has been an interesting experience to come and learn more about the military and understand what they do.

“It is important that we remember those who have been killed in war, and to mark Remembrance we will be wearing poppies on our shirts and have soldiers from a local unit joining us on the pitch for the minutes’ silence, which will add to the occasion.”

The 7 Para RHA provides offensive fire support to 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s rapid reaction force. The regiment has a strong sporting tradition and its football team are the current Royal Artillery League champions.

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Captain Josh Head, 27, from Ipswich, said: “We are part of the local community and it is only right that we should come out of our barracks to show people who we are and what we do as soldiers.

“The public has been hugely supportive of the military during recent operations in Afghanistan and it is important that show our appreciation.”