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Norwich TA soldier's pride at Afghanistan medal ceremony

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:45 01 July 2010

Private Lance Fielding

Private Lance Fielding

A Norwich solider has spoken of his pride after receiving a campaign medal following a gruelling six-month tour of Afghanistan.

Private Lance Fielding from Norwich said it took his breath away when he saw the crowds on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, at the ceremony yesterday .

A Norwich solider has spoken of his pride after receiving a campaign medal following a gruelling six-month tour of Afghanistan.

Private Lance Fielding from Norwich said it took his breath away when he saw the crowds on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds, at the ceremony yesterday .

He was among 65 soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment which returned from the tour of Afghanistan who were honoured with their campaign medals.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Bury St Edmunds as the Territorial Army servicemen from the 3rd Battalion - known as the Steelbacks - were awarded medals for Operation Herrick.

“It's wonderful to see how appreciated we are, it really is,” said the 31-year-old IT specialist who also served with 12 platoon.

Private Fielding, who was joined in Bury by his mother and father, Brian and Sylvia, said: “We are clearly making a difference out there. The locals came to us with lots of information on Taliban movements and where explosives had been laid. All the people want is a peaceful life, to get on with going to school and having a job, and they know our role is to provide that. I'm extremely proud I have been part of that process.

“The local police force is getting stronger and more effective and that is key to securing the country's future.”

Pte Fielding, who was on his second tour of Afghanistan since joining the TA in 2005, said he would go back again to carry on the great work of the Royal Anglians.

Led out by the Royal Anglian band, the 65 men - who all gave up their civilian jobs to serve in Afghanistan - marched out of Abbey Gardens to rousing applause before receiving their medals from Major General Martin Rutledge under a sizzling midday sun.

In front of the soldier's families Maj Gen Rutledge said it was a privilege to award the medals and to see so many people from Bury turning out to show their support.

Addressing the troops, he said: “As a regular soldier I do this for a living but I am always amazed that you take time out to deploy to Afghanistan without really knowing what might be in store, which only proves you all have a tremendous spirit of adventure. I also salute your families for the support they give you.”

The Steelbacks formed two platoons for their tour of duty.

Thirty one soldiers from 11 Platoon deployed in Kabul to form part of the Force Protection Force, while 34 soldiers from 12 Platoon were deployed with the Household Cavalry Battle Group in Musa Qalah, Helmand Province, to support the Afghan Security Forces.

St Edmundsbury mayor Ian Houlder, who attended the event, said he was proud to be at the ceremony and for the association the town has with the Royal Anglians.

“Phenemonel pride” is how Private Kevin Brailsford from Kesgrave described the moment he was awarded his medal.

“To receive an honour for serving your country is absolutely brilliant and I'm thrilled with the reception we received from the people of Bury today,” he said.

Pte Brailsford, a team leader at Tesco in Martlesham, served with 12 platoon in Musa Qalah, Helmand Province.

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