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RAF Honington: Hundreds of soldiers dispatched to fight Berkshire floods

PUBLISHED: 17:37 11 February 2014 | UPDATED: 23:57 11 February 2014

Members of II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment from RAF Honington on their homecoming parade from Afghanistan

Members of II Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment from RAF Honington on their homecoming parade from Afghanistan

West Suffolk soldiers have been deployed to fight the severe flooding affecting hundreds of homes in the Thames Valley.

A total of 233 soldiers from RAF Honington made the trip to Berkshire yesterday as part of a joint effort to address the floods that have plunged towns and villages near Windsor underwater.

Squadron leader Paula Willmot MBE said the troops would begin work straight away and were likely to start by getting sandbags to affected areas and generally trying to lend a hand wherever possible.

She added: “Everybody is keen to help. We’ve been on standby - on point, as we call it - and we’re keen to get on our way and to be seen doing something.”

Sqdn Ldr Wilmott also said more troops from the base could be sent to the area over the coming days should the orders come from above.

The soldiers will be based in Windsor as a joint military and Environment Agency operation targets those areas worst affected, such as Staines, Datchet and Wraysbury.

More than 1,650 military men and women across the south are on high alert and ready to be dispatched to Berkshire as rising levels on the River Thames continues to cause chaos.

Former Thurston Community College student Andrew Marriott now lives in Datchet and has been helping vulnerable neighbours flood-proof their homes and move furniture out of harm’s way.

The 24-year-old’s home had escaped flooding when he spoke to this newspaper last night, but water levels were continuing to rise and he said he was by no means out of the woods.

He added: “Some of it does need to be seen to be believed. You don’t really realise how much is effected until it happens - everything grinds to a halt.

“Datchet is a lot like a small Suffolk village - small community, everybody knows everybody - and people are having to band together. The community spirit is amazing and everyone is doing the best they can.”

One person was rescued from a fire in a house in Braeburn Close near Woodbridge Road on the eastern side of Ipswich late on Sunday night.

Suffolk is set to launch a new campaign to try to find more foster-carers for children who need to be moved away from their own families.

Long, long ago (well, Saturday) in a galaxy far, far away (okay, Bury St Edmunds) stormtroopers from the planet Coruscant invaded the centre of a peaceful civilisation.

MP Therese Coffey has refused to apologise after questioning why police kept Orwell Bridge closed for eight hours following a fatal accident.

Eight fans were arrested by police after trouble broke out among a small group of football supporters at the end of the East Anglian derby at Portman Road in Ipswich.

A new Chief Fire Officer is being recruited to Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) – on a £140,000 per year salary.

A 21-year-old man was treated for stab wounds after being robbed in Colchester’s Greenstead Estate on Saturday evening.

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