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The Boar’s Last Tour

The Boars last tour. From left: LCpl Dring, LCpl Nicholson, Major Chloe Plimmer, Cpl Ferries, Capt Pete Grundy, and LCpl  Lackie, of 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron, due to be disbanded months after returning from Afghanistan.

The Boars last tour. From left: LCpl Dring, LCpl Nicholson, Major Chloe Plimmer, Cpl Ferries, Capt Pete Grundy, and LCpl Lackie, of 73 Armoured Engineer Squadron, due to be disbanded months after returning from Afghanistan.

For one of the 21 Engineers’ four squadrons serving in Afghanistan at the moment, this tour of duty has an extra significance.

73 Armoured Engineer Squadron - with its emblem of the boar - will be disbanded less than six months after it returns to the UK.

The squadron is working as one of the Engineers’ two close support squadrons in Helmand province, meaning its sappers are based all over the province working on engineering jobs ranging from fitting water heaters to showers to stopping roadside bombs being hidden under busy roads.

And as this is ““The Boar’s Last Tour” they are determined to “go out with a bang” the officer commanding, Major Chloe Plimmer, said.

“We want to leave a real legacy and do the squadron proud.

“Whether we were being disbanded or not we would be professionals, but this tour has an added significance now. We want to be able to go out saying ‘look what 73 did on that tour’.”

Major Plimmer’s second-in-command, Capt Any Mangan, added: “We want the final chapter of the squadron’s history book to be a bloody good read.”

Both 73 squadron and their counterparts in Close Support Squadron 2 - who come from fellow Ripon-based unit 4 Armoured Engineer Squadron - have spent a busy four months working in Helmand province.

For the Boars, this has seen their sappers build one new check point base and close eight others down, and prepare four other sites to be handed over to Afghanistan’s own forces.

“And besides the long-term tasks that get the area ready for British troops’ withdrawal in just two years time, the engineers have to take care of day-to-day jobs that keep life going in Helmand’s bases – including 22 “winterisation” jobs to make sure troops can survive the harsh Afghan winter.

Major Plimmer added: “I’ve had quite a few emails from other regiments saying how professional the boys are, and it’s good to hear other people praising them.”

l For more Tour of Duty features and videos, go to www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk, www.ripongazette.co.uk or www.wetherbynews.co.uk

 

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