Relatives' delight as Anglians return

JUBILANT scenes were expected today as soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment returned home after six months battling Taliban forces in Afghanistan.Around 600 Vikings of the regiment's 1st battalion were expected to return to Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, at 6pm.

EMOTIONAL scenes were expected today as soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment returned home after six months battling Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

Around 600 Vikings of the regiment's 1st battalion were expected to return to Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, at 6pm.

There will be nine fewer than there were when they set off in March after nine were killed in action, including Private Aaron McClure, from Marlow Road, Ipswich.

During their time in the country they operated in Helmand province as part of the 12 Mechanised Brigade's deployment for Operation Herrick 6.


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A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The battalion led several high profile operations where they took the fight to the Taliban, successfully pushing them from their traditional heartlands.

“This allowed much-needed reconstruction and development to take place within the province.”

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Pte McClure, 19, was killed alongside fellow Anglians, Pte Robert Foster, 19, and Pte John Thrumble, 21, when a US aircraft from RAF Lakenheath dropped a bomb on them.

The battalion's six other casualties were Lance Corporal George Davey, 23, Private Chris Gray, 19, Private Tony Rawson, 27, Corporal Darren Bonner, 31, Lance Corporal Alex Hawkins, 22 and Captain David Hicks, 26.

All were killed in Helmand by Taliban forces or explosive roadside devices, except Pte George who was accidentally killed by a ricocheting bullet fired by a British soldier in Kabul.

The MOD said that the job of the regiment had been to “provide security and to eliminate the resurgent Taliban threat in order to create conditions that would enable the legitimate and democratically elected government of Afghanistan to extend its authority in the southern region and permit the international development and reconstruction programme to take place.”

The regiment has its headquarters in Bury St Edmunds and recruits from Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Are you a family member or friend of a returning Anglian soldier? How does it feel to have them home? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveninstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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