Soldiers from Northamptonshire have been presented with medals after their recent service in Afghanistan.
The 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, known as The Poachers which recruits from across the East Midlands, took part in one of the British Army’s last ever tours of Helmand Province in September last year.
During that time, they were responsible for training Afghan Security Forces, closing major bases and protecting the area’s largest military base, Camp Bastion.
Amongst them were C ‘Northamptonshire and Rutland’ Company, who, before returning from Camp Bastion this week, conducted missions into the desert to stop insurgents getting close to the base.
The Poachers will parade through Northamptonshire towns, such as Corby and Kettering, next month to show their appreciation for all the support given by their home towns while they were deployed.
Private Darren Walpole, 22, from Kettering, received a medal: “It feels good to receive our medals. A lot of hard work has finally come to an end.”
Yesterday’s parade included a presentation awarding soldiers who deployed with the Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan, recognising sacrifices and hardships endured during operational service.
For many of the junior soldiers, this tour was their first time serving in Afghanistan where they had to deal with extreme temperatures, uncomfortable living conditions and a long time away from friends and family, as well as the dangers involved.
Private Loyd Dean, aged 23 from Grimsby, said: “We were responsible for the protection of operating base, Lashkar Gah. That meant protecting the camp whilst everything inside it was taken by helicopter or vehicle back to Camp Bastion.
“It was weird coming home - one day we were in the deserts of Afghanistan and a couple of days later I was back in Grimsby.”