8:20am Wednesday 13th June 2012
AN Evesham soldier has spoken of the day in Afghanistan when six members of his battlegroup were killed in a blast.
Corporal Luca Grillo did not witness the carnage unfold, but rushed to the scene to form a secure perimetre around the site to help the recovery operation.
The 21-year-old, who serves with the Queen’s Royal Hussars, spoke to the Journal shortly before a medals parade at the regiment’s headquarters in Paderborn, Germany.
For six months the tank regiment has been battling the Taliban and insurgents in the Lashkar Gah area of Helmand province.
Cpl Grillo said the parade was a special moment for him. He served with another part of QRH in Afghanistan, and was part of the battlegroup of soldiers involved in one of the British Army’s blackest days in the country – the deaths of six soldiers caught in a devastating blast which destroyed their armoured vehicle in March. “We were based at the Durai junction which is right at the end of a long main road in the area, and our job was to stop the Taliban moving up and down that route,” he said.
“We ran a lot of vehicle checkpoints, and it was fun – we got to meet the locals.
We were quick reaction force, when those guys got hit most of the British Army turned out to put a perimeter around the site to help the recovery operation.”
He said he had been looking forward to the medals parade since going out to Afghanistan. “When you are 90 years old you can tell your grandkids, ‘this is what I did to earn this’.”
Addressing the parade, the regiment’s colonel-in-chief, the Duke of Edinburgh, welcomed the soldiers home and told them to “get some well-earned rest”.
He said: “I am quite sure your families are all delighted to see you here today.
And we are all very impressed with the job you have done in Afghanistan in the last term. I will not detain you any longer but will wish and hope you have a very good leave and come back refreshed and ready for some more.”
The QRH will be joined by soldiers of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) and The Grenadier Guards for a homecoming parade through Worcester. The event on June 27 will see 790 troops march through the city.
The Band of the Grenadier Guards will lead the parade with the Pipes and Drums of the QRH. Forces’ veterans also be joining the march, together with the Mercian’s mascot Lance Corporal Derby (the regimental ram).
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group