If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Soldiers receive operational medals
SOLDIERS who have just returned home from Afghanistan were presented with their operational medals on Friday.
The 300 members of 26 Engineer Regiment, who returned to Swinton Barracks, Perham Down, two weeks ago from Helmand Province, received their medals from Lieutenant General Sir Mark Mans, Major General John Lorimer and Brigadier Ivan Jones, watched by a crowd of 2,000 family, friends and colleagues.
Among those receiving their medals was Lt Melanie Birtwistle, 26, from Salisbury.
She said: “This was my first tour and a brilliant learning experience with many challenges, and something I will keep with me for the rest of my life.”
The regiment fulfilled the role of Task Force Helmand Engineer Group on Operation Herrick 16, operating across the Helmand area of operations providing infrastructure support including road repairs, patrol base upgrades and permanent bridge emplacement.
Lt Col John Ridge, commanding officer 26 Engineer Regiment, said: “I am incredibly proud of the achievements of the regiment as it did some extraordinary work.
“There were numerous challenges to be faced - the insurgents were a constant threat and the weather was extremely demanding on my men and women.
“Today is a great send off for them in front of their families before a well earned leave following a tour in which they have done so well.”
• During the tour 26 Engineer Regiment lost one soldier, L/Cpl Matthew David Smith, from 30 Armoured Engineer Squadron, who was killed in the Nad ‘Ali district of Helmand province on August 10. Lance Corporal Smith was remembered during the medals parade with a public tribute from Lt Gen Mans.