There were tears of happiness and smiles all round when soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment arrived home.
The soldiers, who are the first British troops of 4th Mechanized Brigade to leave Afghanistan, met with their loved ones at their barracks in Catterick, North Yorkshire.
The servicemen and women are back on home soil after security in their area of Helmand Province was handed over to Afghan forces
Burma Company of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, are part of Task Force Helmand, currently led by the British Army’s 4th Mechanized Brigade, known as ‘The Black Rats’, and Burma Company are the first of the 500 British troops to be sent home from Afghanistan as announced by the Prime Minister last year.
One of the soldiers who has returned home is Sergeant Rob McCormack, 27, from Preston. He said: “The Afghans were brilliant, they were happy to get out and conduct their own operations.
“A lot of the time they didn’t really ask for our help, when we tried to spur them on to do stuff they were already doing it proactively.”
Sergeant McCormack said the troops were happy to be returning home - he was delighted to be reunited with his wife, Adele and their dog.
Kingsman Kurt Pollock, 27, from Lancaster has a wife expecting their second baby. He said: “We went to the area but the Afghan police had pretty much been leading most of the operations anyway.
“We’re coming home early because the job has been done.
“I’m chuffed about going home, I’m looking forward to seeing my wife and son, as well as look at the photographs of the scan of the baby on the way.”
The troops were based at Patrol Base Nahidullah in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand Province as part of an Adviser Team Enabling Company (ATEC) supporting the 8th Precinct of the Afghan Uniformed Police.
Their role was to advise, train and support the police to bring security and stability to the region, but that job is now complete.
Nahidullah has now been closed, the first base of its size to have shut in Task Force Helmand’s Area of Operations.
The Commander of 4th Mechanized Brigade, Brigadier Bob Bruce said: “In terms of the campaign this is the most obvious example of progress during our tour so far.
“The important thing has been enabling the Afghans to take a firm hand on the security situation in this area allowing the Task Force to close Nahidullah.”