Essex

Colchester-based 16 Air Assault brigade honours fallen soldiers

Parade at Colchester Garrison, Essex Image copyright Corporal Andy Reddy RLC

British soldiers who died during operations in Afghanistan have been remembered during a parade marking the end of a brigade's involvement in the conflict.

16 Air Assault Brigade, based in Colchester, Essex, honoured 58 of its soldiers killed during operations between 2002 and 2014.

Twenty-seven of them were from East Anglia, an Army spokesman said.

About 1,000 service personnel took part in the parade at Colchester Garrison.

Image copyright Army
Image caption Chinook helicopters from Wattisham flying over the Helmand river in Afghanistan
Image copyright Corporal Andy Reddy RLC

The parade, which was attended by soldiers and civilian support staff, formally marked the end of the brigade's involvement in Afghanistan.

Suffolk-based personnel also attended the service from the army airbase at Wattisham and Rock Barracks near Woodbridge.

In 2002, 16 Air Assault Brigade provided security after the overthrow of the Taliban.

Image copyright Corporal Andy Reddy RLC

Four years later, the brigade led the first major deployment into Helmand Province.

Its Apache attack helicopters were deployed from 2006 until British combat operations ended last year.

Image copyright Corporal Andy Reddy RLC

During the parade, the names of the brigade's soldiers who were killed were read out.

Cpl David Whittaker, from 16 Medical Regiment, said: "It sent shivers down my spine. I remember treating a number of those [whose names were read out]."

Image copyright Corporal Andy Reddy RLC

16 Air Assault is the only brigade to have done three full tours of Helmand.

Brigade senior chaplain the Rev Alan Steele said: "For the soldiers, it was chance to mark an end to the brigade's presence in Afghanistan, but also to remember their comrades who died.

"Personally, one of the things I've taken away is the tremendous professionalism of our soldiers."

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