Thursday, July 1, 2010

1st Royal Tank regiment return to Liverpool from Afghanistan to heroes welcome

LIVERPOOL welcomed our returning war heroes home from Afghanistan yesterday when D squadron of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment marched from the Anglican Cathedral to St George's Hall.

A huge crowd cheered as the 125 man squadron paraded down Lime Street and then assembled on the steps of the historic hall.

Union flags fluttered in the sunshine and applause rang out before the war veterans dispersed into the arms of their loved ones.

The regiment flew in to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire three weeks ago after completing a gruelling tour of duty in Helmand where they led a number of key offensives including the strategic assault on Moshtarak.

The operation saw Nato's International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan National Army attempted to “clear” around 1,000 insurgents from the central Helmand area.

D Squadron supported the infantry with their Viking amphibious all-terrain vehicle. The small tank’s armoured plating and Browning 12.77mm heavy machine guns provided troops on the grounds with crucial cover and fire power.

Yesterday’s event was attended by assistant chief constable of Merseyside Police, Patricia Gallan and Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Hazel Williams.

D Squadron Leader Gavin Thompson, who commanded 125 men in Afghanistan, said: “We saw some heavy fighting at Moshtarka when we led the ground assault.

“We are proud of our contribution to that important offensive.

“We have improved security in Helmand.

“Fortunately the squadron did not endure any losses during the last tour, although two of our men were badly injured by improvised explosive devices.

“They are now on the road to recovery.

“Today's homecoming was moving.

“I am off to the Adelphi to enjoy a meal with friends, and my lads can all look forward to a well deserved night out.”

Corporal Andrew Bathgate, 28, from Norris Green, said: “We have been living life at 100mph so I am really looking forward to the next six to seven weeks’ leave.

“We need to de-stress.

“I can also spend some time with my girl friend, Corporal Sammy Dickinson, who is with the Army Air Corps. This was my seventh tour of Afghanistan, and I find that experience really helps.

“I feel sorry for the younger lads who are on their first tour.

“I have seen some hard fighting, especially during the Moshtarak offensive earlier this year.

“I think we are doing the right thing in Afghanistan, and I have seen the improvements we bring to communities.

“If we just pull out, the sacrifice of our colleagues means nothing.

“We are needed there.”


  1. Welcome home - also would like to wish the wounded a speedy recovery. God Bless All x

  2. welcome home , so very proud of each and every one of you. you all do a fantastic job out there. enjoy your time back home, kick back and chill. hope our injured guys recover and heal well. xx

  3. Wal Ellison 1st RTR '58-'71September 22, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    Well done all! Still got the stuff to kick baddies arse! Still see myself as a tankie.