Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Shot-At Soldier Is Home at Last

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Shot-At Soldier Is Home at Last

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sarah Knapton

Brave Black Watch soldier Andy Lambert is more thankful than most to be home celebrating Christmas with his family.

Since he was last in the North East 18 months ago, the 29-year-old has been shot at and bombed and has seen friends die in combat.

But today he was back from Iraq and with his mum Ann at his childhood home in Kingston Park, Newcastle, looking forward to five weeks' leave.

Andy, of Englefield Close, said: "It is a big relief to be back because I really didn't think I would be coming home this year.

"I am a soldier and we know the dangers when we sign up but we have all be affected by the deaths in our regiment.

"Some of those killed were my close friends and my heart goes out to the families of the lads who didn't get to come home this Christmas."

Until November the Black Watch were stationed in the south of Iraq, with British Forces repeatedly turning down US requests for support in the more volatile north.

But the regiment was moved to assist the American assault on Fallujah and control the roads alongside the River Euphrates.

Black Watch soldiers joined US troops at Camp Dogwood to stop weapons and reinforcements going north to the city and intercept insurgents fleeing south.

Platoon sergeant Andy said: "It was a completely different atmosphere from what we had experienced in the south. There kids would come up to us in the streets, laughing and smiling and welcoming us.

"But in the north people were a lot more mistrusting. I suppose they have much more to lose. The resistance was more organised as well and for a lot of the time it felt like an all-out war.

"I was involved in high-density fire fights in al Amara, where I was shot at on a number of occasions but luckily was never hit. Those were the most difficult times but that is when your training kicks in and you just get on with the job.

"We were manning a bridge on the Euphrates and a roadside bomb suddenly exploded right beside us. …

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