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Wattisham: Christmas party held for the families of soldiers due to fly to Afghanistan

PUBLISHED: 16:34 14 December 2013

Air Trooper Michael Moran (27) from Southampton with wife Gemma, with wife Gemma holding Jessica (19 months), Matthew (7) and Chelsea (9)

Air Trooper Michael Moran (27) from Southampton with wife Gemma, with wife Gemma holding Jessica (19 months), Matthew (7) and Chelsea (9)

Crown Copyright 2013: This image may be used for current news purposes only.

Soldiers who fly and maintain the Apache attack helicopter have thrown a Christmas party for their families as they prepare for their unit’s last deployment to Afghanistan.

Sergeant Greg Routledge (28) from Maperley, Nottinghamshire, with is wife Hannah and 18 month old son Oliver. Sergeant Greg Routledge (28) from Maperley, Nottinghamshire, with is wife Hannah and 18 month old son Oliver.

664 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, based at Wattisham Airfield, is due to deploy to Camp Bastion in January for four months. The tour – the squadron’s fifth – will be the last deployment for the regiment, which was the first unit to operate the Apache in Afghanistan in 2006.

Alongside presents from Father Christmas, games and helicopter rides, the party also had the serious purpose of briefing families about the support they will get while troops are on operations.

Unit welfare officer Captain Frank Worthington said: “This event is my team’s opportunity to introduce ourselves to the families and it’s been a really happy and positive occasion. It gives the families confidence to hear the help that is available if they need it and the programme of activities we’ve got organised for them.”

On 664 Sqn’s return, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps – also based at Wattisham – will take over until British combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

After nine months of, for no particular reason, referring to our unborn first child as “he” (“how’s he doing in there?” etc), it came to me to make the big reveal to my wife in the moments immediately after the birth, writes Elliot Furniss, from Ipswich.

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