Woodbridge: Rock Barracks’ soldiers honoured for bravery

HERO soldiers who have spent months risking their lives disposing of bombs on the frontline have today been honoured for their bravery.

Around 200 troops received their richly deserved “Herrick” campaign medals at Rock Barracks, near Woodbridge.

The soldiers - from 61 Field Squadron (explosive ordinance disposal (EOD)), 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) and 101 Engineer Regiment (EOD) - were at the forefront of the fight against deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan.

They returned from Operation Herrick 13 earlier this month and were honoured for their bravery at a ceremony this afternoon.

Family, friends and loved ones looked on with pride as the awards were handed out.

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The soldiers marched proudly onto the parade square and were awarded their campaign medals by General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff.

They were joined by around 100 military personnel from the Royal Military Police, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

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During their six month tour the Woodbridge based soldiers and their colleagues had to find and destroy IEDs within Helmand Province.

The Counter-IED Task Force were also responsible for the training of new Afghan Army and Police Search and improvised explosive device disposal (IEDD) teams.

Sadly, three soldiers of the Counter-IED Task Force lost their lives during the tour.

Corporal David Barnsdale, 24, of Tring, Hertfordshire, from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) was killed on the October 19.

Sapper William Blanchard, 39, from Gosport in Hampshire, from 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) was killed on October 30.

Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Charles Henry Wood, 34, from Middlesborough, from 23 Pioneer Regiment RLC (Royal Logistic Corps) was killed on December 28.

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