Soldiers honoured after UN peacekeeping mission in Africa
Dozens of soldiers at Kinloss Barracks went on parade yesterday to celebrate their contribution to a UN peacekeeping mission in Africa.
About 100 members of the base’s 34 Field Squadron were presented with medals in a ceremony in front of top brass.
Proud family members wiped away tears as they saw loved ones getting an honour to display on their chest.
The troops returned from South Sudan last month, following a fourmonth deployment to the war-ravaged country as part of Operation Trenton.
During that time, the men built the groundworks for a new hospital while providing it with power, fresh water pipes and drainage to protect against flooding.
Major Wayne Meek, officer commanding 34 Field Sqn, said: “When we first arrived, it was the dry season and temperatures were in the low 40s.
“When the wet season arrived, there were huge storms and it just turned areas into a swampy mess – most of the roads become impassable.
“At one point, we worked through the night to fight flooding, which is a big potential source of disease.
“The personnel were relentless in their determination to clear gutters and drains.
“The term of being a sapper is all about doing as much as you can do. Sometimes, they were working until they were physically exhausted and needed time off.”
About two-thirds of the men in the squadron were on their first deployment outside of the country.
Work done by the personnel also increased security for charity workers, so they could perform aid missions.
Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Lieutenant Colonel Grenville Johnston, said: “What they have done is hugely important for those people out there.
“It seems to me the personnel had a most rewarding experience out there.
“I’m slightly envious because similar opportunities never came my way in the 1970s and 80s.”
The peacekeeping mission continues in South Sudan with other UN personnel.
The medals parade at Kinloss Barracks after 34 Field Squadron returned from South Sudan