Yorkshire soldiers receive blessing as they prepare for Afghan duty

A public display of support for hundreds of soldiers stationed in North Yorkshire took place yesterday as service personnel prepare for their first deployment to conflict-ridden Afghanistan in five years.

DRUM HEAD SERVICE: Commanding Officer of 2 YORKS Lieutenant Colonel Sam Humphris MBE speaking to his troops during the blessing.

Almost 400 soldiers marched for four miles through the rain to Richmond Castle from Somme Barracks at Catterick Garrison to receive a blessing before shipping out later this week.

The soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment based at Somme Barracks will take part in two four-month operational tours on Operation Toral 5, each lasting four months and taking them through to next spring.

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It is the first time they have been deployed as a regiment to Afghanistan since 2012, although their last deployment came three years ago, to Iraq.

All the deploying personnel attended a Drum Head service at Richmond Castle this morning to receive a collective blessing in a service conducted by padre Captain Jonathan Wylie.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sam Humphris told the soldiers that more than 1,500 people had been killed in the capital of Kabul this year and one of their main tasks will be to provide security to help reduce the number of fatalities.

“You should be very proud to represent your county as well as your country,” he added.

Brigadier Oli Stokes, Commander of the Regiment’s 4th Infantry Brigade, assured the soldiers that they would take the deployment in their stride.