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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 19:20 GMT 20:20 UK
County troops come home from Iraq
Pte Lee Foster and Pte Damien Finney (L-R)
The regiment arrived home on Tuesday
Soldiers from the Staffordshire Regiment have arrived home from Iraq, ending a six-month tour of duty.

The regiment's First Battalion flew out to the southern Iraqi province of Maysan in April.

The troops arrived back at Mooltan Barracks in Tidworth, Wiltshire, on Tuesday evening where their families were waiting to be reunited with them.

During the tour, five soldiers from the county's battle group were killed - three of them on one day in July.

The deaths of Pte Leon Spicer, 26, and Pte Phillip Hewett, 21, both from Tamworth, and 2nd Lt Richard Shearer, 26, of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, came after their armoured Land Rovers were blown up by a roadside bomb.

Pte Karl Hinett before he was injured
Pte Hinett is said to be recovering well
The regiment received national publicity last month when two soldiers were pictured leaping from their burning Warrior troop carriers in the city of Basra.

A third soldier, the gunner, received 37% burns to his body.

On Tuesday the regiment revealed Pte Karl Hinett, 18, from Tipton, has since had three operations but could be discharged from Selly Oak Hospital at the end of this week.

He will then be transferred to a military hospital for rehabilitation.

'Lot of crying'

Capt Andy McClannahan, from the regiment, said: "The tour has been successful, obviously any success is heavily tempered by the loss of five soldiers.

"That was felt severely by all that were deployed with the battle group throughout the theatre."

After flying into the barracks Pte Lee Foster said: "It feels absolutely brilliant, I cannot wait to get back to Stoke to see all of my family.

"I'll do a lot of crying probably and definitely a lot of kissing."

His colleague Pte Damien Finney said: "It's been really tough, you're working 24 hours a day and hardly getting any sleep. Being in the heat as well that took it out of you."




SEE ALSO:
Mass for third Iraq death soldier
01 Aug 05 |  Staffordshire
Funeral of soldier killed in Iraq
28 Jul 05 |  Staffordshire
Staffordshire troops off to Iraq
19 Apr 05 |  Staffordshire
Army regiments merge in shake-up
16 Dec 04 |  Staffordshire


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