Gallery: Suffolk soldiers honoured for Iraq tour

Soldiers based in Suffolk were yesterday recognised for their successful tour of duty in Iraq.

Ross Bentley

Soldiers based in Suffolk were yesterday recognised for their successful tour of duty in Iraq.

Around 30 soldiers from the 1st Royal Tank Regiment were presented with Operation Telic campaign medals in front of families and friends at the RAF's Honington base near Thetford.

“Everyone is very proud of us, my mum is chuffed to bits to see me back home,” said Trooper Thomas Ward.

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The regiment, from T Squadron, was the very last to return from the war torn country in May this year, after having been deployed for the final time in November 2008.

“We were the first regiment in and the last out,” said Staff Sergeant Richard Jacques, who has lived in Sudbury for 12 years. “You earn your medal every day you are out there, away from your family.”

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T Squadron was in charge of the UK Military Transition Team Groups, which worked within the Iraqi army as mentors, and worked alongside local forces in search operations in southern Iraq.

“The civilian population was very welcoming in general,” said Sergeant Major Steve Hodson. “As the emphasis of the conflict changed in the last two years we were heavily involved in training the Iraqi troops.”

The Operation Telic medals, the codename under which all British operations in Iraq are being conducted, were presented by Camp Commandant, Lieutenant General David Leakey.

He praised the regiment for their “flexibility and bravery in combat”, and described their medals as “richly deserved”.

Some of the servicemen and women from the regiment will be redeployed, in Afghanistan, at the end of this year.

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