TWO young soldiers from Wrexham are home on leave after a six-month tour of Afghanistan.
Welsh Gunners Nicholas Davies and Terrance Lord serve with 74 Battery (The Battleaxe Company) 39 Regiment Royal Artillery and were awarded operational service medals at a special ceremony held in Newcastle.
Nicholas, 20, a precision fires gunner, is a former pupil at Ysgol Rhosnesni and worked on launcher maintenance and mission duties during his time in Helmand Province.
He said: “It was good to put my training into practice and I left feeling I made a difference.
“I did miss my fiancée Sian, though, and I was counting down the hours in the final week to seeing her again.
“We are going on holiday together in my seven weeks leave and will be getting married at the end of 2012.
“I can’t wait.”
The battery has been deployed to support the 16 Air Assault Brigade in Helmand Province since October last year and, equipped with a hi-tech rocket launcher system, targeted suspected insurgents.
They have now been replaced by soldiers from the Regiment’s 35 Battery.
Terrance, 19, is also a precision fires gunner and was a former pupil at Ysgol Clywedog. He was awarded a medal for completing his first operational tour.
He said: “I gained a lot of experience from it, most importantly learning to work in a small tight-knit troop in tough conditions.
“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I’d happily do another tour tomorrow.
“But I am enjoying being back in my own bed and getting a good night’s sleep.”
A total of 71 servicemen and women were presented with medals by Brigadier Greville Bibby CBE, who praised the soldiers for their work.
He said: “You have done a fantastic job and should be extremely proud.
“It’s an honour and a privilege for me to come here and present you with your Afghan medals.
“The ceremony marks the end of what for most of you has been a very hard time,
not only for the soldiers but for the families back here.”