Top brass to attend troops' parade

A HIGH-ranking officer today pledged to travel to Ipswich when his troops parade through the town and receive their medals for their Iraq service.

Grant Sherlock

A HIGH-ranking officer today pledged to travel to Ipswich when his troops parade through the town and receive their medals for their Iraq service.

Lieutenant Colonel Eddie Corrigan of the Royal Logistic Corps, the commanding officer of UK Logistic Battalion, will be among the army top brass to take part in a special ceremony being held in the town.

Civic leaders are bestowing the town's highest honour - the Freedom of Ipswich - on the Territorial Army's 158 Transport Regiment, which has its 202 Transport Squadron based here.

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On December 7, soldiers fresh from a tour in Iraq will parade through the centre of Ipswich, before a ceremony on the Cornhill.

They will receive their tour medals and be welcomed home by their families and the people of Ipswich.

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During a visit to his troops at the US Army KSF base in Kuwait Lt Col Corrigan said he was looking forward to the regiment's proud day in Ipswich.

“They've supported me and I'll support them,” he said.

Referring to the TA troops from Ipswich and across East Anglia, he said: “They've done a great job.

“We integrated them early on with us. It was key to me that they became a part of the unit.

“These guys have proved themselves beyond doubt. They are right up there with my best soldiers.”

And Major Austin Lillywhite, officer commanding of 45 Squadron based at Basra, said of the TA troops: “They add a real benefit. I've got a lot of 18-year-olds who have just come out of training and the TA guys add a maturity to that.

“Generally they've done really well and I've really enjoyed having them with us.”

The troops are expected to return to Germany in early December before making the trip to Ipswich for the seventh.

They'll be returning from a gruelling tour of southern Iraq which has seen them carry out crucial logistics operations to supply British troops stationed there.

Some are providing protection for huge civilian truck convoys transporting supplies from Kuwait to Basra.

Others have been driving food, water, fuel, ammunition and all manner of other supplies and materials to smaller bases around Basra where British troops are stationed with their Iraqi counterparts - all in an environment where militia are thought to have turned to specifically targeting logistics convoys.

Lt Col Corrigan said it was accepted that militia had planned in the past to bomb convoys, and could in the future.

“It's just one or two people. You're still looking at extremists,” he said.

“We make ourselves hard targets and that's all about doing the job properly.”

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