Woodbridge: Army pays tribute to home town

A COMMANDING officer has paid tribute to his regiment’s home town for the support they have shown troops currently on service in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel Frazer Ross, of 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), Royal Engineers, said the local community in Woodbridge was “the envy of many a regiment”.

Lt Col Ross is currently leading a 650-strong body of men making up the Task Force Helmand Engineer Group. It is the regiment’s fourth tour of Afghanistan since 2002 and most of the Woodbridge-based troops have been in Helmand Province since September.

The servicemen are due home to Rock Barracks in March and the commanding officer, who lives in Woodbridge with his wife and two children, said: “I would like to thank sincerely the Woodbridge community for the marvellous support that they give the Regiment – those in Afghanistan, the families back in Rock Barracks and my injured soldiers – whilst we are deployed and when we are at home.

“The link that we have with our local community is the envy of many an Army regiment. It is a close relationship that, as the Commanding Officer, I hold very dear and am extremely proud of. The Regiment is looking forward to coming home in March, when we will continue to strengthen the connection with our town.

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“The strength and support that we and our families receive from Woodbridge Town Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council and the wider Suffolk community is also second to none and we are all hugely grateful.”

He also acknowledged the sacrifice of Army families, left back at home while their relatives serve: “For the significant sacrifices they make for our country, the loneliness and constant fear in which they live when we are deployed, our society owes them a significant debt. And for the soldiers who have suffered life-changing injuries and the families who have lost loved ones, they deserve the full, continued and unlimited support of our society.”

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Martin Sylvester, mayor of Woodbridge, said the town had great respect and concern for the troops and paid tribute to the “depth of goodwill and “heartfelt support” from the regiment. The servicemen have taken part in a number of public events and parades in the town.

Lt Col Ross’s sappers deliver close combat support to the infantry in Afghanistan, carrying out specialist tasks that allow them to fight, move and live.

This can range from construction of buildings, roads or bridges whilst under fire, to the finding and clearing of improvised explosive devices, and much more, and has racked up a number of notable achievements.

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