Last soldiers return to Beachley Barracks

The last soldiers from the Gloucestershire-based 1 Rifles have returned home from Afghanistan.

An "eternal flame" which had been kept alight at Beachley Barracks was extinguished during a special ceremony.

It had been lit in a storm lantern outside the base and kept burning until the last soldier returned from the current tour of duty.

Five riflemen were killed clearing insurgents from one of the remaining strongholds in central Helmand.

Chaplain Joe Rooney said homecomings could be "rather odd" for some of the families that had been waiting.

"Some of the wives and children have got so used to being without dad - he's going to be a stranger when he gets back," he said.

"The little ones won't know who this strange man is and it will take some weeks before they settle down again."

The battalion began its tour of Helmand Province in April.

The Company will receive the Freedom of Chepstow and operational service medals on 17 November.

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