News story

Welcome home parade for bomb disposal team

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Soldiers who trained the Afghan Army in bomb disposal have paraded through Saffron Walden in Essex to mark their return from Afghanistan.

21 Field Squadron, part of 101 Engineer Regiment based at Carver Barracks in Wimbish, was part of the 400-strong Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Search Task Force comprising 23 units from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force that returned from Operation Herrick 17 in April.

The Task Force was responsible for the training of the Afghan National Army’s bomb disposal team in addition to their front line duties of searching for and destroying improvised explosive devices on the ground.

The Afghan National Army soldiers completed an initial 4-week course provided by US forces before graduating onto the advanced training given by the Task Force. They were then put through their paces by an experienced instructor to ensure they are confident, methodical and professional in dealing with current threats.

Soldiers on parade in Saffron Walden
Soldiers trained in explosive ordnance disposal on parade in Saffron Walden [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble RLC, Crown copyright]

The Commanding Officer of 101 Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Stockley, said:

The officers and soldiers of 21 Field Squadron should be justifiably proud of what they achieved on operations in Afghanistan. They have assisted in restoring normality to communities ravaged by decades of conflict, whilst giving the Afghans the confidence to render safe the pernicious threat from the insurgent’s improvised explosive devices.

We are collectively extremely grateful for the support that my soldiers and their families receive both directly and indirectly from the people of Uttlesford; it genuinely makes a difference.

Soldiers parade through the streets of Saffron Walden
Soldiers trained in explosive ordnance disposal parade through the streets of Saffron Walden [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble RLC, Crown copyright]

In addition, the parade marked new beginnings for 33 Engineer Regiment, also based at Carver Barracks. The regiment is taking on a new shape under the Army 2020 structure.

This will see the disbandment of 49 Field Squadron and the addition to the regiment of 821 EOD & Search Squadron Royal Logistic Corps. The regiment will also create a new reserve squadron to work alongside them on operations.

49 Field Squadron also took part in the parade on Sunday; their final time marching as a squadron before the disbandment.

Soldiers parade through the streets of Saffron Walden
Soldiers trained in explosive ordnance disposal parade through the streets of Saffron Walden [Picture: Sergeant Brian Gamble RLC, Crown copyright]

Have you got what it takes to be a reservist? We are recruiting to the Reserve Forces now.