December 6 2013 Latest news:
By CHRIS HILL
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Twin brothers serving with different East Anglian-based regiments have joined forces for the first time in Afghanistan.
Sgt Tony Richardson is a member of the Light Dragoons, which is based in Swanton Morley near Dereham, and a troop sergeant in the rapid-strike Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) , operating throughout Helmand.
Meanwhile, his identical twin Sgt Mike Richardson, of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, based at RAF Honington near Thetford, is a commander of a Mastiff armoured vehicle group, with the job of transporting and protecting troops from the Royal Anglian battlegroup in the district of Nad-e Ali.
Although the two 30-year-olds are based within a few miles of each other, they had never met on an operational tour until earlier this month, when they were able to spend a day together at the main British base of Camp Bastion between operations.
Mike said: “It was not really emotional. It was more like: ‘Let’s go and have a pizza or something’.
“I think it is easier for our mum. Last time she had to put up with it for 14 months, this time it is only six because we are here at the same time. It is double the worry, but it is over quicker.”
The brothers, originally from the Middlesbrough area, were keen amateur boxers at the same club as they grew up. They confessed they “didn’t like each other very much” before both joining the army in 1998.
Tony said: “Once we got to a certain age we both said that’s what we wanted to do. It is much better than sitting around doing the same thing all the time.”
Although the twins’ differing roles mean they are a rarely in the same place, Mike said he had no concerns about his brother’s missions.
“I always hear what the BRF have been doing,” he said. “But I think he’s been doing it long enough now not to worry about stuff like that.”
Tony is on his third tour of Afghanistan, and in 2009 he was awarded a Mention in Despatches for bravery under fire. As well as his brother, the Light Dragoon has another familiar face to visit in Camp Bastion as his girlfriend, 23-year-old Cpl Sian Peters from Llanelli, is serving in Afghanistan with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.