Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Royal Anglian Regiment: Essex Boys dun good

Lieutenant Colonel James Woodham MC, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment, has been paying tribute to the men under his command currently serving on the frontline in Afghanistan.

Lt Col Woodham explained how the Battalion has been playing a key role in turning the tide "very fast" against the Taliban in all four of the districts of Helmand - Lashkar Gah, Gereshk, Musa Qaleh and Nad Ali - in which the guys have been stationed.

He singled out C (Essex) Company (NB this story has been taken from an Essex newspaper) for their success in winning hearts and minds in Nad Ali district. Engaging with the local people, providing sustained security and working together with them to rebuild their communities is what Operation Moshtarak has been all about and 1 R Anglian has been making a big difference in this regard - or as Lt Col Woodham puts it: “It is changing the local dynamic, bringing an ungoverned area back in to government hands”.

Lt Col Woodham, however, also pointed out that all this success has come at a high cost: two soldiers from C Company, L Cpl Adam Drane and Pte Robert Hayes, were killed fighting the Taliban in Nad Ali earlier in the year.

In praising his men, their CO said: “It’s quite humbling to see the guys suffer the most exacting loss, get on and go back in to the same area to face the same threat. These young men are the heart of the British Army and the nation. At times, we are quick to have a go at the youth of today, but it is my experience that with a decent environment and training, they can do the most extraordinary things.”

Lt Col Woodham went on to say: “We want to say a really big thank-you to everyone back in Essex. You will see us marching through the county’s streets this summer to show our appreciation.”

And, James, the people of Essex will be turning out to show their appreciation and respect for the guys as well! [Parades are scheduled for June 15th in Barking & Dagenham and June17th in Southend.]

Chelmsford Weekly News: Commanding officer pays tribute to Essex soldiers’ Afghan effort