Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Prince visits Ballykinler troops in Helmand

By Lesley-Anne Henry

Published 14/09/2009

Prince Edward has made a morale boosting visit to battle weary troops who deployed to Afghanistan from Northern Ireland.

The Earl of Wessex spent two days with the 2nd Battalion The Rifles at a forward operating base in Sangin, Helmand Province.

News of the Prince’s visit, which took place last week, was kept top secret until after he had flown out of the war torn country.

The 2 Rifles battle group has spent five arduous months at the forefront of the fight against the Taliban and has lost 12 men since deploying from barracks at Ballykinler in Co Down.

It is understood Prince Edward, who is Royal Colonel of the 2nd battalion The Rifles, was escorted through the new ‘government zone’ and met the Sangin district governor Fazil Haq.

He said he hoped the troops would have a “painless and productive” last few weeks on operations.

Commanding Officer of the 2 Rifles battle group, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson, described the royal visit as a “real honour”.

“Our Royal Colonel has been in the closest support throughout our time in Sangin and we are very grateful,” he said.

“It has been a real boost to the Riflemen whose courage and resolve in the face of the most challenging circumstances has been exemplary.”

Among the latest fatalities from the 2nd battalion The Rifles was Captain Mark Hale whose funeral was held in Hillsborough almost a fortnight ago.

From the web

Sponsored Videos

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph