September 2 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
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.”