Somerset

Return home for Taunton-based 40 Commando

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Media captionTroops return home from Afghanistan

Royal Marines from a Somerset barracks have returned home after a final six-month deployment in Afghanistan.

The 80 marines from 40 Commando were welcomed by their friends and families at Norton Manor camp, Taunton.

The unit served in the force's main operating base Price, in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province.

It was tasked with developing the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan police units in the area to take on responsibility for security.

Its return marks the last major element of more than 14,000 Royal Marines to withdraw from Afghanistan after 10 years of deployment.

'Busy tour'

More than 100 families were waiting to welcome the troops.

Royal Marine James Trowbridge was met by his girlfriend Emma McFadyen.

He said: "It's great to be back and see my lovely girlfriend again. It was a busy tour which made things go fast."

Ms McFadyen said she was looking forward to spending "ordinary time" with him.

L/Cpl James Caisley was reunited with his wife Stephanie and baby daughter Jessica, aged nine weeks.

He said it was "awesome" to be home.

Mrs Caisley said: "It's amazing to have him back and to see him with Jessica. It is the best thing in the whole world."

Maj Keith Stanton paid tribute to Cpl David O'Connor who was killed while serving with 40 Commando in Afghanistan on 2 October.

He described him as a "stalwart" of the Royal Marines and said: "He will be very sadly missed and our thoughts are with his family."

Following its return, 40 Commando will take leave and then begin training for contingency operations, providing part of the UK's amphibious warfare capability.

The unit will also take part in a medals parade through Taunton on 16 May.

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