The last group of soldiers from The 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (3 YORKS) returned to Warminster yesterday evening (Tuesday 30th October 2012), after their demanding but successful deployment as part of 12th Mechanized Brigade (12 Mech Bde) on Operation Herrick 16, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
To mark their return the youngest soldier amongst them Lance Corporal Dale Leadbetter, 25, from Shipley, who was on his first operational tour, extinguished the flame of a candle, which had been kept lit outside the entrance to Battlesbury Barracks, ever since the first of the Regiment’s companies deployed back in February.
53 members of the Regiment were welcomed home to Battlesbury Barracks greeted by waiting family, friends and colleagues from 3 YORKS.
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Zac Stenning said: “It has been a privilege to lead the Battlegroup for the last 6 months in Afghanistan. The candle has been lit for 9 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 3 YORKS lost nine soldiers. Corunna Company lost six in an explosion. Sergeant Nigel Coupe, from 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, and Corporal Jake Hartley, Private Anthony Frampton, Private Christopher Kershaw, Private Daniel Wade and Private Daniel Wilford, all from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, were killed when their Warrior armoured vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in the Lashkar Gah Durai region on Tuesday, 6 March 2012.
Private Gregg Thomas Stone, of Burma Company, 3 YORKS, was killed in Afghanistan after coming under fire in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Sunday, 3 June 2012. Sergeant Gareth Thursby and Private Thomas Wroe, both of Alma Company, 3 YORKS, were shot and fatally wounded by a rogue Afghan Local Policeman in Checkpoint Tora in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province on Saturday, 15 September 2012.
The 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment will hold a parade through Warminster on Friday 30 November, followed by a church service at The Minster. Later that day a presentation of Afghanistan Operational Medals will take place at Battlebury Barracks. The following week the Regiment will parade in Halifax on Tuesday 4 December and York on Wednesday 5 December respectively.