Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Back Together after Gulf Hell

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Back Together after Gulf Hell

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sara Wallis

Families of Geordie Marines fighting in the Gulf welcomed loved ones back to Tyneside.

For Kimberley Ritson the war meant saying goodbye to her fiance as well as her brother when they left for Iraq in January.

She met fiance Steve Watson through her brother Stephen Ritson after they became pals when they joined the same unit of the Royal Marines.

But now she has both of them back home. Kimberley, 30, of Belsfield Gardens, Jarrow, said: "It has been the worst few months of my life and I never want to go through it again.

"They both left for the Gulf at the end of January with the Royal Marines - although they were in different commandos.

"It has been a nightmare for the whole family. My fiance Steve has two children and I have one daughter and it has been horrible for them as well.

"My brother Stephen also has a girlfriend, Sara."

Kimberley, a doctor's receptionist at Thomas Hospital, Jarrow, continued: "Seeing them both last night was absolutely incredible. There were lots of tears and laughter and drinking.

"They were so happy to be home and I think they enjoyed having proper food instead of rations.

"We put lots of banners up and neighbours from the whole street came round to celebrate their coming home.

"It was wonderful. The last four months were so difficult. The worst thing was watching the news on TV.

"I would rather not have seen what was going on. The worst thing was when they announced that some men had been killed and you didn't know who."

Now that Steve has been reunited with Kimberley, they can begin to plan their dream wedding which they hope will be next year.

Kimberley said: "We are now talking about the wedding plans and we think we will get married next February.

"We have bought a house so now we can look forward to moving in together as soon as the house is ready in about a month."

Fiance Steve, 34, said: "It was absolutely brilliant to come home and I'm just grateful to get back in one piece.

"It was my daughter Lauren's ninth birthday yesterday, so we had one big party.

"It was so great to get home in time for that. …

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