Thiepval troops return home to Lisburn from Iraq mission

A bugler from 2 Rifles based at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn
A bugler from 2 Rifles based at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn

Lisburn will on Wednesday welcome home 200 troops from its resident army battalion after their six month deployment providing training for the Iraqi army and security forces.

The soldiers, from the 2nd Battalion The Rifles (2 Rifles), have been operating in temperatures of up to 45C as part of the ongoing battle against Islamic State.

The battalion has been based at Thiepval Barracks for a number of years and deploys from the Lisburn base to fulfil its operational missions and training tasks around the world.

Protecting the thousands of coalition troops and airmen based in the Anbar province of Iraq was an additional aspect of Operation SHADER – the UK’s ongoing contribution to the security of Iraq.

A spokesman for the MOD said the battalion’s riflemen “stood guard over the massive Al Asad Airbase, supporting the Iraqi operations to retake the Anbar towns of Anah, Rawah and Al Qaim, which had been seized by ISIS in 2014”.

He added: “2 Rifles have had to deal with the Iraqi summer heat, which was over 45 degrees Celsius when the battalion deployed, and a Christmas separated from their families, but they have done so with a relentless professionalism and pride. They have stood guard for countless hours with endless vigilance and delivered hundreds of lessons and security patrols.”

With the mission to Iraq now complete, the troops are said to be delighted to be returning to their families in Lisburn “and starting to turn their minds to the many tasks the battalion has in 2018”.