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See some of the 250 military vehicles to have passed through Colchester before NATO operations

PUBLISHED: 13:35 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:35 12 October 2018

Around 250 vehicles have stopped off at the Convoy Support Centre Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON

Around 250 vehicles have stopped off at the Convoy Support Centre Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON

Colchester Garrison

A Colchester army barracks has been transformed into “the military equivalent of a motorway service station” to support 250 military vehicles and 500 soldiers en route to a major NATO exercise in Norway.

The operation has been helped by Essex Police Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISONThe operation has been helped by Essex Police Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON

The Convoy Support Centre (CSC) at Merville Barracks, set up by 7 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, provided fuel, food and rest for the troops before their departure to join Exercise Trident.

Vehicles passing through the CSC, from Saturday to Wednesday, included Foxhound, Jackal and Husky protected patrol vehicles Land Rover battlefield ambulances and Medium Wheeled Tractors.

7 Regt RLC’s Major Cath Carter said: “It’s been an interesting challenge for us to set up and run the CSC, but everyone’s worked hard to look after the troops and ensure a seamless continuation of their journey on to Norway.

“The Army hasn’t done a road move on this scale in some years, and we’ve learnt a lot about our role supporting the movement of a major force by just getting out and doing it.

The vehicles underwent a deep clean before setting off Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISONThe vehicles underwent a deep clean before setting off Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON

“We’ve had great support from Essex Police commercial vehicle unit and I’d like to thank the public for putting up with the extra traffic and any disruption that’s been caused.”

Part of the CSC’s duties included a deep clean of every vehicle to meet Norway’s strict biosecurity standards.

Norwegian Armed Forces veterinary inspector Lieutenant Colonel Torgrim Aune, who oversaw the operation, said: “Norway has a unique and fragile environment. We need to ensure that vehicles moving into the country don’t have any soil or plant matter on them, which could bring animal diseases in.”

Among the troops heading to Norway is Sapper Ross Read, of Catterick-based 32 Engineer Regiment.

The vehicles are taking part in Exercise Trident in Norway Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISONThe vehicles are taking part in Exercise Trident in Norway Picture: COLCHESTER GARRISON

“This stop at Colchester is our last chance to get a bit of rest and set ourselves up to go on to Norway,” he said. “Trident Juncture is the biggest exercise I’ve been involved in and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity to work alongside engineers from other NATO armies to swap ideas and learn from each other.”

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