Mercian cheered through Newark [17/03/10]
of local people lined the streets of Newark, Nottinghamshire
to cheer the proud members of 2nd Battalion, the Mercian
Regiment when they marched through the town yesterday.
Freedom Parade followed on from equally popular marches
on Friday in Glossop and Monday in Ripley.
CO Lieutenant Colonel Colin Marks, said: "Our links
with Nottinghamshire go back for over 200 years and they
are more important to us now than they have ever been. We
continue to enjoy tremendous support from the local communities.
These marches are an opportunity for us to say thank you
to our families, friends and everyone back at home."
2 Mercian are marching through Mansfield. The boys will
be getting tired 'cos after that they still have four more
parades to go:
18th - Ashbourne Parade
March 19th - Freedom of Matlock Parade
March 19th - Freedom of Chesterfield Parade
March 20th - Homecoming Parade through Redditch
done, 2 Mercian! Well done Newark!
Sun: Thousands salute their heroes
Troops march through Ripley town centre in Derbyshire
12th March 2010 Parade through Glossop, Derbyshire, England
disposal hero Olaf Schmid awarded George Cross [14/03/10]
Sergeant Olaf Schmid of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment,
the Royal Logistic Corps was killed in Afghanistan on 31st
October 2009 when the IED he was disarming exploded; it
was the 65th IED he had had to deal with during his five
months on the frontline. He died on his last mission just
before he was due to return home.
Schmid's exceptional courage and professionalism had saved
the lives of many of his friends and comrades in 2 Rifles
by his CO simply as "the bravest and courageous man
I have ever met" and by his friends as "a legend
who stared death in the face", S Sgt Schmid is to be
awarded the George Cross for his bravery.
GC ranks alongside the VC as it is the highest military
award for outstanding heroism not in the presence of the
Sergeant Olaf Schmid GC, hero
Times: Bomb disposal hero to get George Cross
Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid killed in Afghanistan
Independent: Gallantry awards to mark brutality of Afghan
Memorial Wall rededicated at Arlewas [12/03/10]
Basra Memorial Wall was rededicated yesterday in a service
alongside the National Armed Forces Memorial at Arlewas.
Memorial Wall, on which inscribed the names of the 178 British
servicemen and women and one MoD civilian who died in Iraq
during operation TELIC, had originally been set up outside
the UK HQ in Basra by British soldiers in remembrance of
their fallen comrades.
the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq, the families
and friends of those named on the Memorial Wall began what
was to be come a three-year campaign to get the government
to agree to bring the monument to their loved ones back
to the UK.
a hard-fought campaign since labour ministers were reluctant
to agree to the repatriation. However after much public
and service pressure, an agreement was eventually dragged
out of them and the Basra Memorial Wall now stands in its
place of honour in the grounds of the National Arboretum
is particularly significant about this Memorial is that
it was conceived, set up and maintained by British soldiers
themselves who added a new plaque, bearing name and regiment,
each time one their comrades was killed. At the service
Stephen Robbins, Chaplain General to the Armed Forces recalled
how members of 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron had built the
Wall on their own initiative and in their own time, often
in darkness after a days work.
fitting therefore that the dismantling, transportation and
re-erecting of the Wall were all carried out by current
members of 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron.
500 family and friends attended the re-dedication service
along with leading members of the Armed Forces; political
leaders were also present.
Jones, whose son Sergeant
John Jones from 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of
Fusiliers, was killed in 2005 when a roadside bomb blow
apart his Snatch Land Rover, said at the ceremony: Its
the closing of a book for me. Ive cried more today
than I have in all the last four and a half years..... [John]
was a good lad, a very good lad. .... They hadnt even
a medications box with them, they could do nothing.
who had been refused permission to visit the Wall when it
was in Basra, played a leading role in the campaign to bring
the Wall home.
leader of the campaign was Brian Tanswell who laid a wreath
on behalf of all the familes. Brian, whose son Lieutenant
Tom Tanswell was killed in Iraq in 2006, said: "I feel
honoured to lay the wreath on their behalf and take comfort
from knowing this memorial is here for us, in its rightful
place in the UK, an everlasting tribute to our loved ones,
where families, friends and comrades can come and remember
is the national memorial but this is the military one. This
was the one made by the boys for the boys, explained
Roger Bacon, whose son Major Matthew Bacon, 34, of the Intelligence
Corps was killed by a roadside bomb in 2005.
Jones pointed out, this is not the governments wall.
It was put up by our sons friends, in honour
of our sons. It belongs to us.
Basra memorial wall rededicated in UK
National Arboretum: Basra Memorial Wall rededication
Basra Wall begins its journey home
Basra Wall is coming home
Qaleh: an all-round success story for British troops [12/03/10]
the recent arrival of additional US troops in Helmand, UK
forces had been responsible for the security of 70% of the
total Afghan population with only 30% of the coalition troops.
This statistic in itself underlines how heroic have been
the achievements made by British forces so far in Helmand
- not only in providing dramatically improved security to
such a large proportion of the Afghan people but also in
delivering the enhanced stability that enables reconstruction
to take place.
arrival of an additional 12,000 US marines has meant that
UK forces can be released from protecting such places as
Musa Qaleh and redeploy into deeper and more effective formations
in central Helmand. This rebalancing will allow British
troops to deliver yet more security as well as freeing up
the time and resources necessary to extend their training
and mentoring role with Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan
National Police (ANP).
first deployed to Musa Qaleh in summer 2006 since when dramatic
progress has been made. Insurgent activity in the district
centre has been contained and greater security has been
brought to the area - a direct result of the developing
partnership between UK and the ANA and the ANP. However,
as Defence Secretary Ainsworth said when paying tribute
to British troops: "We must never forget the 23 brave
service personnel who gave their lives to make Musa Qaleh
an area in which Afghans can go about their daily lives
in security and under strong, stable governance".
responsibility for security in Musa Qaleh will pass to the
Americans, reconstruction will remain a British responsibilty.
Already healthcare, education (2,300 kids in school when
two years ago there were none) and employment have all improved
and there has been a tangible increase in commercial activity
in the bazaar and markets. Work will soon be starting on
a new local government centre and other civic infrastructure
ahead of the handover to the US Marine Corps, Lt Col Harry
Fullerton, CO the Household Cavalry Regiment said: "The
important thing to stress is that what they are taking over
is a British success story, British battle group's have
been here over the past years and they have progressively
expanded the area of governance, it hasn't been without
its cost but it has been a cost worth making in order to
deliver success for the British Army, the British Government
and most importantly the people of Afghanistan."
Household Cavalry commander reports on challenging three
months in Helmand
James McKie returns Taliban's grenade[10/03/10]
"What does it feel like to pick up a live grenade?"
"When I saw the grenade there and thought, aw, I just
hope it doesn't hurt too much. I knew that I had to get
it away from us and, as I picked it up I thought that, if
this doesn't come off or I hadn't done this, the result's
going to be exactly the same. My main thoughts were for
the other guys, Captain Kerr and Rifleman Holcombe because
we had lost Corporal Green the day before and I wasn't prepared
to see another guy from my platoon get hurt, even if that
meant that I got hurt myself."
are the words of Rifleman James McKie of Reconnaissance
Platoon, 3 Rifles when recounting how, in the middle of
a fire-fight, he picked up a Taliban grenade which had landed
amongst his patrol and hurled it off the roof where the
guys had taken up position. The grenade exploded on its
way down into the alley just a couple of feet away. This
act most probably saved the lives of all three of them.
asked whether he would be going back to Sangin straight
away, Rfn Mckie replied: "I can't wait to get back
there. I really miss the other guys and it would absolutely
break me if another one of them got hurt while I was out
here waiting to repatriate Greeny. I'm sure they understand
but it doesn't make it any easier for me. If anything, if
we can get a few more of them, it's worth it."
to the media back home in New Zealand, James said: "I
love soldiering. I love being here in Afghanistan. Obviously
bad things happen and I can't go back and change it, but
what I can do is try and stop things happening around me.
far as the military experience goes, this is the ultimate
for a career soldier."
McKie said of the incident, in Sangin on March 3rd: "People
keep telling me how brave I am. I'd like to think that anyone
in that situation would have done the same or something
similar because you can't just sit there and let yourself
or other people get hurt."
you may think, James, everyone else thinks that was a bloody
brave thing to do! What a hero!
. . . . . .
Rifleman Jonathon Allott, another guy from Rfn McKie's battalion
was killed a short time after this interview.
British soldier throws back a grenade to save lives
NZ hero back from Afghanistan in May
Guards come home again to Wales [05/03/10]
soldiers of 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards marched through
the streets of Cardiff yesterday to a hero's welcome from
hundreds of well-wishers lining the streets of the city.
Battalion returned from a tough six month tour in Afghanistan
in October. Seven of their number lost their lives in the
fighting including their CO, Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe; the
others to lose their lives were Major Sean Birchall, Pte
John Brackpool, LCpl Dane Elson, Lt Mark Evison, LSgt Tobie
Fasfous, Gdsm Christopher King.
their tour the Welsh Guards were a key component of the
major summer offensive known as Operation PANCHAI PALANG
(PANTHER's CLAW) and captured the towns of Chah-e Anjir
and Basaran, both of which were under Taliban control.
back home in Wales, the guys are receiving due recognition
for their valiant work fighting the Taliban. Guardsman Christopher
Davis said: "To see all the support that we get is
great and it's nice for our families to see us marching.
It does bring back memories though, especially of the guys
who didn't make it back. It would have been nice if they
could have been marching with us."
Freedom of the City of Cardiff Parade will be followed by
other homecoming parades across Wales. Marches will be taking
March 8th - Swansea
March 11th - Merthyr Tydfil
March 12th - Newport
March 16th - Bridgend
March 24th - Caernarfon
March 26th - Rhyl
Cardiff parade also marked the launch of Armed Forces Day
2010. Cardiff has be chosen to be the focus of the national
celebration which this year will be taking place on June
26th. Brigadier Russ Wardle, Commander of the Army in Wales,
said: Armed Forces Day is designed to be an opportunity
for the nation to express its gratitude to the men and women
who have served in the armed forces for them and it is a
chance for the armed forces to show themselves off a bit.
I have no doubt Cardiff will put on a great show.
done, the Welsh Guards! Well done, Cardiff!
Welsh Guards stage homecoming parade in Cardiff
Welsh Guards launch Armed Forces Day 2010 at parade
Welsh Guards return from Afghanistan
Welsh Guards in action in Operation Panther's Claw (video)
Guards Afghanistan Appeal
Anglian Regiment: Harlow memorial to Pte Robert Foster [16/02/10]
Robert Foster was one of the nine soldiers of 1st Battalion,
The Royal Anglian Regiment who lost their lives in the service
of their country during the Battalion's previous tour in
Afghanistan in 2007.
then his family has been trying to have Robert's name engraved
on the War Memorial in his home town of Harlow.
the local branch of The Royal British Legion and Harlow
Council, however, have said that this cannot be done - that
the Memorial Cross has to be restricted to those who died
in WW1 & WW2. This is despite the fact that the War
Memorials Act allows a council to add names to a war memorial
whether it owns it or not. The name of Pte Aaron McClure,
a fellow Viking who was killed alongside Pte Foster, has
been inscribed on the War Memorial in his home town of Ipswich
and many other towns have been proud to honour their boys
in a similar way.
Council have come up with an alternative proposal and now
intend to build a low curved wall to the back of the railed
area around the Cross, as a memorial to all of those with
a strong connection to Harlow, who have given their lives
in service in conflicts since 1945. Brass plaques would
be attached to the wall, setting out the name and regiment
of the deceased, the date of death, and the conflict in
which they were serving. This is an idea taken from the
Basra Memorial Wall (see below) which has recently been
repatriated from Iraq and re-erect in the grounds of the
Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum, Arlewas.
memorials stand in every village, town and city across the
country. They are the focus of the Nation's remembrance.
It is absolutely right that the names of all those who have
given their lives fighting for their country should be honoured
and remembered on them.
parents said: "I don't think we're asking for the world.
We're just asking for a name to be put on a memorial."
....... "It's actually quite a simple thing, when you
think about it. It doesn't take much at all."........."To
finish the story his name should be on the War Memorial."
Parents fight for son's name on war memorial (video)
Family fight for memorial honour
Council: Memorial to Private Robert Foster
Memorial Wall rededication [15/02/10]
service to rededicate the Basra Memorial Wall, the monument
to the 178 UK Service personnel and one MoD civilian who
lost their lives on Operation TELIC in Iraq, will take place
at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Thursday,
11th March 2010.
Memorial Wall was built by soldiers for soldiers at their
base in Basra during the war in Iraq. It took a hard-fought
campaign by the families of the Fallen to bring the Memorial
home. It is fitting that the Memorial has now been re-erected
by soldiers in the Armed Forces Memorial grounds at Arlewas
in the heart of the country.
Executive of the National Memorial Arboretum, Charlie Bagot
Jewitt, said: "Many of our memorials provide a way
for the nation to acknowledge its fallen men and women.
The Basra Memorial Wall is different, as it was conceived,
built and maintained by the colleagues of those that died.
As a result, it has assumed an even greater poignancy. The
Arboretum will be a fitting home for the wall."
Service to mark Basra Memorial Wall's rededication in the
Sun: Homecoming for the fallen heroes
motorcyclists Ride To The Wall [11/10/09]
the second year motorcyclists from across the UK converged
on the National Arboretum yesterday to pay their respects
to the servicemen and women who have been killed in the
service of their country.
bikers made the Ride To The Wall 2 this year not only to
honour the dead but also to raise funds for the maintenance
of the memorial - organisers hope to exceed last year's
total of £10,300.
Dozens of veterans with military medals pinned on to their
riding leathers and a major general in uniform were among
those at a service of remembrance.
UK event is similar to the annual 'Rolling
Thunder Ride For Freedom' motorcycle rally which takes
place over the US Memorial Day weekend in Washington DC.
This year as many as half a million veterans and bikers
rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue in tribute to US war heroes.
In only its second year the number of bikers who took part
in the UK event this year far exceeded the expectations
of the organisers.
done, Bikers of Britain!
Bikers pay respects to the fallen
To The Wall
Telic commemorated [09/10/09]
commemoration service in St Paul's Cathedral the Nation
gave thanks and paid honour to the 120,000 British servicemen
and women who served in Operation Telic between 2003 and
service also paid due honour to the sacrifice made by the
178 who gave their lives in the service of their country.
focal point of the service was the centrepiece from the
'Basra Wall' which had been built out in Iraq by soldiers
to honour their fallen comrades. It took a
hard-fought campaign by the families of the fallen to
get the government to eventually agree to bring the Wall
home and to have it rebuilt at the National Memorial Arboretum
in Staffordshire. The sentence engraved on the central plate
from the Wall does not simply speak for those that fell
but also speaks for all those who served on Operation Telic.
Inscribed with lines from the Book of Wisdom:
age does not depend on length of days, nor is the
number of years a true measure of life."
Armed Forces: Pride of Britain [09/10/09]
of UK Armed Forces picked up a number of awards again this
year at the Daily Mirror's annual Pride of Britain Awards.
The UK Joint Medical Group Afghanistan was recognised for
its work in the field hospital at Camp Bastion.
Noel Connolly from the Royal Marines also received a Special
Recognition Award for his bravery last year in thwarting
an attempted suicide attack.
Phil Packer of the Royal Military Police received the Fundraiser
of the Year Award for his efforts in support of Help for
Petty Officer Martin Langlands received the Outstanding
Bravery Award for his actions in an off-duty capacity which
saw him rescue a family involved in a traffic accident.
to all award winners!
Military personnel are Pride of Britain
Engineer Regiment receive great welcome home [06/10/09]
of people lined the streets of Antrim, Northern Ireland
last Saturday to welcome back the soldiers of 38 Engineer
Regiment from their six-month tour in Afghanistan.
400 soldiers marched to their base at Maserene Barracks
following a private civic event at the town's Antrim Forum
soldiers - who as part of the Royal Engineers Corps -have
the Freedom of the Borough - were greeted by rapturous applause
and cheers from the crowd as they made their way along the
short route from Antrim Forum to their base on the Randalstown
the parade, the soldiers were presented with their operational
medals at a ceremony in the barracks.
six-month tour of duty, 38 Engineer Regiment was involved
in almost every military operation British forces undertook
in the region, including the high-profile Operation Panther's
Col Roger Lewis said: "Sandy, sweaty, dirty, dangerous
and bloomin' hot just about sums up life in Afghanistan
during the last six months. It
takes men and women of genuine character and real fortitude
to stick to a task as daunting as the one we have faced
since March and I am immensely proud of each and every officer
and soldier that has dealt with adversity head on."
done 38 Engineers! Well done Antrim!
38 Engineer Regiment welcomed back from Afghanistan
38 Engineer Regiment
Memoriam: Aaron McClure, Robert Foster & John Thrumble
Aaron McClure, Private Robert Foster and Private John Thrumble
all from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, were
killed while on a fighting patrol near Kajaki, Afghanistan
on Thursday 23rd August 2007.
Aaron McClure his CO said: "At 19 years old, Private
Aaron McClure was already a veteran of over forty engagements
with the enemy. It is tragic that where the Taliban had
failed, it was an accident that has taken him from us. Loyal,
hard working and highly professional, he constantly surpassed
the standards expected, and his loss is a bitter blow to
the whole Battalion." His friend Pte Barker said: "McClure
known to most of his mates as 'Troy' was a hard working
and very determined member of 7 Platoon who would 'work
his socks off' to achieve the best results he could. 'Troy'
had a lot of ambition and would have gone far in the Army.
He will be missed very much by all of us in 7 Platoon and
the Company. Rest in peace mate and my thoughts are with
Robert Foster's CO said: "As a junior soldier, Private
Robert Foster settled in remarkably quickly and was a highly
respected Viking. Fiercely loyal to his friends, he had
seemingly limitless reserves of courage and strength of
character way beyond his years. He had a rare quality of
always seeing the bright side of any situation and a mischievous
sense of humour which made him hugely popular." His
Section Commander said: "Fozzy as he was known by all
will be remembered for never turning a dare down. He was
up for anything and kept the comedy value of the section
up when it was most needed. He was a model for the British
Army. It was a privilege to serve with him and we will never
Pte John Thrumble the Battalion Commander said: "Private
John Thrumble was one of the mainstays and leading characters
within the Battalion. An inspirational model to others and
a caring and compassionate friend to many, he will be sorely
missed. Proven in combat on countless occasions his
raw courage and ability to raise a smile were invaluable
in these testing times. He joins the ranks of his fellow
fallen Vikings but his reputation will live on and he will
never be forgotten." And Private Barker said: "John
was the joker of the platoon and even the Company, and always
managed to make you laugh whatever the circumstances. Although
he was hard as nails, he had a soft side to him which most
people did not know. He had some ambition and wanted to
stay in the Army and work his way up through the ranks."
people going out fighting giving their lives for us;
They do it
selflessly and they never get thanked enough.
give it all, put their heart and soul into what they do
To make this world a better, safer place for me and you.
Memoriam: 204 Service Personnel killed in Afghanistan. Today
- Tomorrow - Forever [17/08/09]
Memoriam: Dave Hicks [11/08/09]
David Hicks MC, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment,
was killed on Saturday 11th August 2007 during a violent
attack on his patrol base north east of Sangin, in Helmand
CO said: "Captain Dave Hicks was an outstanding officer
who will be
missed by all members of the Battalion. It is typical of
him that he had led from the forward position during the
attack on his Company, in order to best direct the battle
and provide an inspiring example to his men. Even after
being mortally wounded his only concern was to get back
into position to control the fight."
Matthew Waters, 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, 1 R ANGLIAN
said Capt Dave Hicks was a good friend and a good
leader of men. To me he was a calming influence who would
be able to see through tough situations and find a positive
side. His humour was unique and he always new what to say
to cheer people up. Dave stepped up to company commander
and used his intelligence and experience to do what was
right for him and the men. He was a good friend but hopefully
he has gone to a better place. Dave will be sorely missed
by all in C (Essex) Company and across the Battalion. He
was a true star.
Captain Hicks was postumously awarded the Military Cross
for exemplary gallantry in the field.
Captain David Hicks of The Royal Anglian Regiment killed
Borough Council: Commemorating the life of Captain David
The Mail: Army mourns hero captain who refused to abandon
his troops in fightback against Taliban
Memoriam: Tony Rawson [10/08/09]
Tony Rawson, from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment,
was killed on Friday 10th August 2007 in Helmand, Afghanistan.
Rawson was killed during a firefight with the Taliban when
out on patrol near Jusyalay, north east of Sangin.
CO said: "Private Tony Rawson was a highly respected
member of 1 Royal Anglian and his death is a tragic loss,
deeply felt by all members of the Battalion. A close friend
to many, Private Rawson was a young man passionate about
his job, with a big heart and a generous and trustworthy
personality who died courageously in close combat. He was
a true Viking who we will never forget."
mates in 11 Platoon, C (Essex) Company, said: "Mr
Nice Guy: Never let anyone of us down even at the hardest
of times, a great friend and just a brilliant soldier. Thanks
for showing us the ropes when I first got to the Battalion.
We felt privileged to be in the same section as you. Missed
but never forgotten"
Private Tony Rawson of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
killed in Afghanistan
Tribute: Tony Rawson
Tributes to Helmand death soldier
Field Hospital medics honoured [07/08/09]
life-saving work of the medics from TA 208 (Liverpool) Field
Hospital (Volunteers) was praised at a ceremony at a Merseyside
hospital. A painting, "Safe Return", showing medics
in action in Afghanistan, was presented to Aintree University
Hospital Trust in recognition of the support they and their
staff give to troops serving on the frontline.
Liverpool: Praise for leading Merseyside Hospital's life-saving
role with British army in Afghanistan
far away in North Wales it was being announced that medics
from the 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital (Volunteers) were being
awarded the Freedom of Llandudno in recognition of the service
they have given to the Army in Afghanistan. The honour will
be bestowed at a special meeting of Llandudno Town Council
on Saturday, September 19th. Another dozen 203 Welsh Field
Hospital volunteers are preparing to go to the war zone
by the end of the year.
Wales Weekly News: Medics humbled by freedom
worth remembersing that not only do these volunteer medics
work in the operating theatres in the Camp Bastion Military
Hospital, they also fly direct into battle areas to give
emergency treatment to wounded soldiers as part of the MERT
Emergency Response Teams).
to the TA medics who do such an incredible job in providing
expert medical care to both the military and civilian casualties
Reserve medics get ready for frontline hospital duty
Regiment: Freedom of Rotherham Parade [05/08/09]
soldiers from the 3rd Battaion The Yorkshire Regiment marched
through the streets of Rotherham to receive the Freedom
of the Borough from the town's mayor, Councillor Shaukat
Ali. Thousands of townspeople turned out to support the
guys and show their appreciation for the work they do.
is the first time The Yorkshire Regiment has been directly
granted a Borough Freedom since its formation in 2006. Soldiers
from 3 YORKS were the last infantry unit to leave Iraq;
some of their number have already been redeployed to Afghanistan.
Third Battalion officer Capt Mally Birkett said: "It's
days like this that make it all worthwhile. We have a long
connection with the people of Rotherham, and for them to
come out and support us in this way has been absolutely
people here are fiercely proud - there have been thousands
of people out today, young and old.
of the boys only got off the plane from Iraq last Monday,
and when they come back and see the public supporting them
in this way, it's a fantastic feeling - especially when
so many of the lads are from areas around here."
done 3 YORKS! Well done Rotherham!
Warriors marching home - SLIDESHOW
Freedom of Rotherham Parade