A YOUNG soldier from Huddersfield could be one of the last out of Iraq.
Private Liam Holland is working in Baghdad with the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington’s).
He and his fellow troops are carrying out guard duties at the British military HQ in the city and will be there throughout the countdown to the British withdrawal later this month.
A deal signed by Baghdad and London last year agreed that the last 4,100 British soldiers would complete their mission – primarily training the Iraqi army – by June, before a complete withdrawal from the country in late July.
The Yorkshire soldiers are responsible for guarding and protecting all the troops at the HQ and also looking after their kit and equipment.
It means they will be there to the end as troops pull out of the war-torn country.
Liam, 20, is currently based in Baghdad, responsible for guarding and protecting British soldiers and the various military headquarters in and around the city as the final arrangements are made and the last pieces of kit are packed up and dispatched back to the UK.
Although the situation has improved dramatically in the country, troops still have to be fully prepared to face all possible situations.
Liam and his fellow soldiers from ‘Alma Company’ spent weeks doing ‘acclimatisation’ training in Kuwait using the American facilities at Camp Buehring.
The work included a refresher in medical training, learning how to deal with any improvised explosive devices (IEDs), firing skills, and vehicle escape drills.
It also gave them the chance to get used to working in the extreme heat – which can get up to 43 degrees centigrade in the height of the Iraqi summer.
Liam said: “I have really enjoyed the training we have done on the ranges in Kuwait.
“This is a good experience and I am enjoying it”.
He joined the Army three years ago straight after leaving Honley High School and is now looking forward to going on the non-commissioned officer selection course for promotion. He is normally based in Warminster on Salisbury Plain with 3 YORKS as part of the Mortar Platoon.
Meanwhile, volunteers serving with the Territorial Army in Yorkshire who saw service in Afghanistan will be honoured this week.
They will receive their operational service medals on Saturday in a special ceremony at York racecourse.
The platoon of soldiers from 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (4 YORKS) will parade in front of family, friends and onlooking race-goers to receive their medals for a six-month tour in Afghanistan last year.
The 26 soldiers from Delta Platoon undertook a Force Protection role in Kabul where they guarded bases of NATO troops, patrolled the city and escorted convoys in the region.
“This was a difficult and dangerous task and there was the ever-present threat of roadside bombs and suicide bombers in the city,” said Lieutenant Colonel David Rhodes, the Battalion’s commanding officer.
“The majority of these soldiers have civilian jobs and they put these and their family lives on hold for six months to serve their country. They richly deserve this honour and their friends and families are justly proud of them for the role they played.”