Woodbridge: 101 Royal Engineers return from Afghanistan tour

DELIGHTED sappers from Rock Barracks have been reunited with loved ones after a six-month tour of Afghanistan.

Expectant wives, partners and children gathered at the barracks near Woodbridge to welcome the 101 Royal Engineers as they arrived back home last night.

Claire Wiseman, 20, shed a few tears as her partner Callum Boothroyd, 21, came back to base.

“It’s just not real, I can’t believe it,” she said. “You wait six months building yourself up for the worst possible outcome, so to have him back home is amazing.”

The sappers from 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers and 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) have spent the past six-and-a-half-months in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, working as part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade.

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On the tour the sappers worked to build Route Trident, a 20km improvised explosive device-proof road as well as building two bridges to reopen the main Highway 1 after they were damaged by insurgent action.

Sapper Mark Harris, 29, received an emotional welcome from his wife, Christina, as he arrived back at barracks. “It makes everything worthwhile to be back home,” he said. “We got some amazing work done out there. The guys did a brilliant job.”

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Mrs Harris, 31, said she had been sick with nerves as she waited for her husband to walk through the doors.

“I am over the moon,” she said. “I am overwhelmed by emotion. It has been so long since I’ve seen him.”

While in theatre the sappers gave close combat support to the infantry, carrying out specialist tasks to allow them to fight, move and live.

Having endured drenching rain and 30C heat, the men were pleased to get a warm welcome and a cold beer yesterday.

Lt Col Frazer Ross of 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) said it was good to get the boys back home to their loved ones.”


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