Squadron could get special honour

IPSWICH'S TA squadron could be set for a special honour on the back of the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army and a tour of duty in Iraq.

Grant Sherlock

IPSWICH'S TA squadron could be set for a special honour on the back of the 100th anniversary of the Territorial Army and a tour of duty in Iraq.

158 Transport Regiment, which has a squadron based in Yarmouth Road, could be singled out for special mention this year on the return of eight soldiers from the Ipswich area and four more attached to the Ipswich squadron from six months in Iraq.

Ipswich mayor Inga Lockington today sent her own message of support to the troops as they prepare for deployment.

A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: “Talks are under way at Grafton House to look at a fitting honour for the service personnel from 158 squadron.

“The mayor sends her best wishes to everyone going on active service. All of them and their families are in her thoughts and prayers.

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“Ipswich is very proud of its Territorial Army soldiers.”

Any honour given to the regiment would cap a momentous year for the TA which has seen it celebrate its centenary at a time when its importance to the regular army was obvious, with TA soldiers boosting the ranks of regular soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With British troops committed to difficult wars in both countries, the ability of the UK's volunteer soldiers to bolster the ranks of the regulars has proved vital.

The troops from Ipswich are currently preparing for deployment to Iraq this month.

Once there, they will oversee the delivery of crucial supplies to British troops in Basra, and in doing so will face the dangerous task of travelling along the roads between the southern Iraqi city and the border with Kuwait.

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Tyler said the ten would return from the tour with a wealth of life experience.

He said they were motivated by a desire to help the people of Iraq.

“At the end of the day they are all going to come back with a great deal of experience.

“They want to contribute back to society - this tour and wanting to help is the reason they joined the Territorial Army.”

Lt Col Tyler said an honour for the Ipswich squadron would be a fitting tribute to the efforts of its volunteer soldiers.

“The commitment, the enthusiasm and the dedication of the soldiers is second to none,” he said.

“The thing I have to keep reminding myself is these people choose to turn up on Saturdays or Sundays or during the week - they don't have to be there.

“The dedication and commitment is very, very strong.”

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