BRAVE soldiers returned home to South Cerney to a hero’s welcome last week.

Royal Logistic Corp 81 squadron, which has been based at South Cerney barracks since 2008, returned home last week after a six-month tour in Cyprus.

The squadron had been stationed as part of United Nations operation TOSCA, patrolling the buffer zone between north and south Cyprus, where tensions between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot populations have been high.

Marking the safe return of the Squadron, 29 regiment paraded within the barracks at South Cerney, where they were welcomed home by inspecting officer Brigadier Crispin Walker MBE “Twenty-nine Regiment and 81 Squadron should be proud of completing such a successful tour,” he said.

“You were able to effectively keep the peace and completed your orders in a manner befitting the Corp.”

He added it was a bittersweet occasion for the squadron, which has been disbanded following the tour.

“Today will be a day of mixed emotions for a lot of you,” he said.

“It’s important that we take the time to mark occasions such as this, particularly as the army shrinks.”

Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Anna Kimber said she was delighted with how the troops, six of whom had been promoted from Private to Lance Corporal following the tour, had performed during the operation. “What we were doing was mostly quite low level stuff but its amazing how quick these things can escalate,” she said.

“It’s always nice to come home because, even though you’re working, it’s still six months away from home.”

Following the parade, the Squadron enjoyed a special lunch with their families, where the Bishop of Gloucester Michael Perham was on hand to welcome troops home.

For a full set of pictures from the parade, see the gallery under the Related Links tab.