Troops welcomed home after delivering life-saving training

Staff Sergeant Lee Simon is met by his family wife Charlotte and kids Charlie (3) and Shea (5) after his six month tour.
Staff Sergeant Lee Simon is met by his family wife Charlotte and kids Charlie (3) and Shea (5) after his six month tour.

MORE than 100 soldiers received an emotional welcome after returning from a three-month tour of Afghanistan.

Troops from H Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment, were embraced by ecstatic family and friends when they arrived at RAF Honington on Friday night.

Lieutenant Sean Sapsford and his Fiance' Georgie Fox are reunited . The couple are due to get married in Spring 2013

Lieutenant Sean Sapsford and his Fiance' Georgie Fox are reunited . The couple are due to get married in Spring 2013

Based in Camp Bastion, they had delivered potentially life-saving training to 9,000 members of 12 Brigade.

The reception, staging and onward integration training is given over short bouts to every soldier entering the conflict-strewn country and covers issues such as culture, weapons systems and improvised explosive devices.

Major Jonathan Davies, squadron leader, said: “It’s vital training. The techniques and practices we cover will hopefully save lives in some way.”

Among those reunited with their loved ones was father of two Staff Sergeant Lee Simon, who has completed two tours of Afghanistan.

The returning troops march back from the buses

The returning troops march back from the buses

The 40-year-old said: “Doing camp training is just as challenging as being on the ground.

“It’s rewarding knowing that the lads are getting the good training they need.”

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Sean Sapsford, 23, returned to the arms of his bride-to-be Georgie Fox.

He said: “It’s fantastic to be back.

“I had only been with the regiment for a day before deploying. It was a real experience and the first time I’ve been away on anything like that.”

The regiment will now be based at Honington for three months before deploying again.