Returning soldiers will be honoured

Just days after returning home from the dust and heat of Afghanistan the soldiers of the Light Dragoons will be honoured in front of proud families and friends.

Just days after returning home from the dust and heat of Afghanistan the soldiers of the Light Dragoons will be honoured in front of proud families and friends.

More than 100 soldiers will march onto the parade square at their base at Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley, near Dereham, on Thursday, October 25 to be awarded their Operation Herrick campaign medals.

The regiment's 'B' Squadron will be its final element to return home from Afghanistan on Tuesday, October 23.

Light Dragoon soldiers first deployed on Operation Herrick in October 2006 and have since completed a year long campaign at the forefront of the fight against the Taliban.

Based at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province they have conducted a series of dangerous patrols, routinely lasting for up to three weeks, across the length of the province.

'B' Squadron alone covered over 50,000 miles patrolling in Helmand over their six month tour in one of the world's most inhospitable environments, with soldiers suffering in temperatures of up to 50C in their Scimitar and Spartan armoured vehicles.

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The squadron has fought the enemy on more than 40 occasions during their six month deployment, the longest skirmish lasting for more than seven hours.

The regiment has helped to improve security and the ability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to govern and redevelop the area.

The Medal Parade will take place on what is already a significant day for the regiment - the153rd anniversary of the Battle of Balaklava which saw its mounted forebears: the 13th Light Dragoons take part in the fateful Charge of the Light Brigade.

The soldiers will be presented their campaign medals by the Colonel of the Regiment, Lieutenant General (Retd) Sir Roderick Cordy-Simpson KBE CB DL, and the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Lady Knollys.

Praising his men, the Commanding Officer of The Light Dragoons, Lieutenant Colonel Angus Watson said: “During the last 12 months, the regiment has been deployed on the most challenging and rewarding tour for many years.

“Officers and soldiers have been in contact with the enemy regularly and have demonstrated professional skill and courage of the very highest order, and I pay huge tribute to them all.

“For all of us who have deployed it has been at the very pinnacle of our military careers.

“A very important contributing factor to the success of the tour is the close knit relationships that are formed in a family regiment such as The Light Dragoons.”

He said the regiment currently has five serving fathers and sons and three sets of brothers and also praised the tremendous support from friends, families and the communities in Norfolk and its recruiting areas.

He paid tribute to those soldiers killed and wounded in Afghanistan, especially those from the Grenadier Guards, the Mercian Regiment and the Royal Signals who died while serving as members of the Light Dragoons Battle Group.

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