Troops return from Afghanistan

28 April 2010, 12:23

More than 60 soldiers from The 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (3 YORKS) returned to Wiltshire on Tuesday 27th April after deploying for up to six months in Afghanistan, including involvement in the recent high-profile Operation Moshtarak. Friends and family were at Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster, to welcome them home.

Lieutenant Colonel Vallings said: "It's a huge relief to have them back safe, a huge sense of pride of what they've achieved and I'm glad to see them back in the arms of loved ones,"

"But the loss of Lance Corporal Graham Shaw and Corporal Liam Riley on this tour and last year the loss of Private Young hits us all and it is has been an immeasurable loss for us and their families. We and they will always remember them."

77 soldiers were deployed on a variety of tasks throughout Helmand Province. 31 of them formed part of the 'Mastiff Group' operating in the Babaji region in the heavily armoured Mastiff Protected Mobility Vehicle. They undertook essential tasks such as transporting troops, protecting large convoys, as well as directly engaging the Taliban with their advanced weapons systems.

The other 46 were split across the region and performed a variety of tasks ranging from drivers through to snipers. Many of them were performing the vital and challenging role of being Battle Casualty Replacements replacing troops in a number of different units who had lost soldiers through death or injury. All these soldiers played a key role in the recent Operation Moshtarak, during which they were responsible for improving the security and quality of life of the Afghan people.

The return was tinged with sadness as the Battalion and its wider family remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice on this tour of duty. Lance Corporal Graham Shaw and Corporal Liam Riley were both killed by Improvised Explosive Devices on the same patrol in February.