Web gallery: Troops are welcomed home from Afghanistan

RELIEVED family and friends, wives and girlfriends have welcomed home troops from Afghanistan.

An anxious wait was over last night as 13 soldiers from 1 Royal Tank Regiment returned to RAF Honignton after spending almost seven months on tour.

These troops had volunteered to be dog handlers, using dogs to sniff out potential improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

When they arrived back at base, they marched to bagpipes and were greeted with claps, hugs and smiles.

Lance Corporal Morgan Bannister, 25, was reunited with wife Lauren and five-month-old daughter Lola.

He said the tour was good, completely different to what he would usually do, but he was “glad to be back”.

His wife said: “It seems strange that it’s happened. It’s been such a long time.”

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The last time the family were together was in July when L-Cpl Bannister had a break. Now he is back from tour they are going to focus on time together.

William Williams, 23, who had been on his first tour, is the fourth generation of his family to serve in Afghanistan.

His father, also called William, from North Wales, said it was “fantastic” he was back. “I just cannot wait for him to come home,” he said.

Captain Ian Hammond, from 1 Royal Tank Regiment, said no troops had been lost on the tour.

On Tuesday, 18 troops from the regiment’s G Squadron returned to RAF Honington. While in Afghanistan, they had been using a heavily armoured patrol vehicle called the Mastiff to bring firepower and armpured support wherever needed.

Capt Hammond said 110 soldiers, who have been delivering Reception, Staging and Onward Integration (RSOI) training, would remain out there until November.