Heroes Welcome For Ely Soldier As He Returns From Tour of Duty in Afghanistan
A SOLDIER from Ely was treated to a heroes welcome this week as he returned home from a tour-of-duty in Afghanistan. Private Ricky Walker was greeted by friends, family and dozens of union jacks at his home on Monday after completing six months with Brit
A SOLDIER from Ely was treated to a heroes welcome this week as he returned home from a tour-of-duty in Afghanistan.
Private Ricky Walker was greeted by friends, family and dozens of union jacks at his home on Monday after completing six months with British troops in the notorious Helmand Province.
The 20-year-old former City of Ely College student was a member of 19 CS Battalion, part of the Royal Logistics Corp, tasked with cooking three meals a day for more than 2000 hungry troops.
Despite the searing heat and ever-present threat of insurgent attacks though, Private Walker says he and his colleagues simply had to get on with the job at hand, "In the first few weeks it was quite nerve-wracking but everybody got bored of waiting for the bombs to drop and we just stopped thinking about it, he said.
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"The breakfast shift would begin at about 5.30am every morning and from there it was non-stop throughout the day preparing lunch and dinner.
"There was one occasion when there was a loud bang on the base but it turned out to be nothing and we all turned round to find a friend of ours had dived under the table, he got a bit of stick for that!"
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Though he was away from home for six months, Private Walker said he didn't miss much apart from his family, but did admit that he enjoyed a good drink or two with colleagues after arriving back from a strictly teetotal country.
In the next few weeks, Private Walker will be looking to get even more sun on a holiday with friends but will be back at work with his battalion again in three weeks' time.
Dad Kevin, who has another son currently on operations with the army in Cyprus, said he was glad to have his son home and urged people to keep supporting the troops who were serving in far off lands.
"I managed to send out letters and magazines for Ricky but some of the lads out there don't get much and I think they would appreciate getting some items sent out, especially at Christmas time."
Turn to Page 5 to see details of an Ely Woman's Shoe Box Appeal for troops