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Last 3 Yorks soldiers return home from Afghanistan
The last soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment returned home to Warminster yesterday evening after their nine month deployment in Afghanistan.
To mark their return the youngest soldier among them, Lance Corporal Dale Leadbetter, 25, who was on his first operational tour, extinguished a candle which had been kept lit outside the entrance to Battlesbury Barracks ever since they first deployed back in February.
The 53 troops were welcomed to the barracks by waiting family, friends and their comrades, who themselves returned home in stages last week and back in September.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Zac Stenning said: “It has been a privilege to lead the battlegroup for the last six months in Afghanistan.
“The candle has been lit for nine long months and this event marks the return of the final elements of the battalion to the UK.
“I am extremely proud of the soldiers and officers of 3 Yorks and all they have achieved in Afghanistan, the courage, dedication and selfless commitment of the soldiers has been of the highest possible standards.
“The support from the families and elements of 3 Yorks who remained behind has been truly humbling and clearly they have been critical to the overall success whilst deployed.”
During the deployment, as part of the 12th Mechanized Brigade on Operation Herrick 16, the battalion lost nine soldiers.
Sergeant Nigel Coupe, attached from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Cpl Jake Hartley, Private Anthony Frampton, Pte Christopher Kershaw, Pte Daniel Wade and Pte Daniel Wilford, were killed when their Warrior armoured vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Lashkar Gah Durai region on March 6.
Pte Gregg Thomas Stone was killed after coming under fire in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on June 3, and Sgt Gareth Thursby and Pte Thomas Wroe were shot and fatally wounded by a rogue Afghan policeman on September 15.
The battalion will hold a parade through Warminster on November 30, followed by a service at The Minster Church, and a presentation of Afghanistan Operational Medals at the barracks.
The regiment will also parade in Halifax on December 4 and York on December 5.
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