Picture special: Chivenor troops return from Afghanistan

Joseph Bulmer

Joyful scenes as loved ones wait for their return home from the front line.

JOYFUL families gathered at RMB Chivenor on Friday to welcome home troops after their six month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Members of the Commando Logistic Regiment returned to the base on both Friday and Saturday after flying in from RAF Brize Norton and boarding the coach for home.

They have spent the past six months in Helmand province carrying out combat logistic patrols to transport supplies to the front line as well as providing a high visibility presence in the region.

The latest operational tour was also mercifully free of any serious casualties.

There was a happy but tense atmosphere as the troops’ loved ones waited expectantly for their coach to arrive. Emily McIntosh and Kate Osborne from Braunton were waiting for their partners Corporals Trevor Brown and Scott Mills.

“It’s a bit overwhelming,” said Kate, “we miss them so much and sometimes go for a week or two without speaking to them. To have them back is really great and it makes the past six months worthwhile when you see them again.”

From the opposite end of the UK, Agnes Goodsir had travelled to North Devon from Edinburgh to meet her son David, joined by his sister Carol and girlfriend Sarah – and they planned to return to Scotland straight away to attend a family wedding the following day!

A key part of the recent tour has been the handover of security to Afghan forces in the Lashkagar area and the Commando Logistic Regiment’s role has been central to that.

“The operational tempo has been very high but the lads have worked their socks off,” said Captain Chris Smith.

“I think it has been a good tour, we have been very lucky and not had any casualties and we have achieved everything that was asked of us.

“They have worked extremely hard in some very tough conditions, never complained, always got on with it, kept their humour and always had their commando spirit at heart.”

The troops have now dispersed to enjoy some well earned leave but the Commando Logistic Regiment will take part in a Homecoming Parade through the streets of Barnstaple on Thursday, November 17.

To see more pictures, click on the gallery link to the top right of this story.