Welcome home lads!

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SOLDIERS from across the Fylde coast are celebrating making their home at the region’s barracks for the very first time.

After flying in from a three-year tour in Cyprus, around 600 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment are now settling into Weeton Barracks.

It is the first time the soldiers have been based in the North West since the regiment was formed back in 2006 – and the battalion’s local soldiers are delighted to be home.

The occasion was marked with a homecoming parade on Saturday.

Former Highfield High School pupil Kingsman Reece Royle, from South Shore, 23, said: “I was in Cyprus two and a half years and went to Afghanistan twice as the theatre reserve battalion.

“It’s nice to be home, it’s gone from not seeing my family at all to seeing them every day – they’ll get sick of me soon!

“We’re based here for four years but I’ve put my name down to go back to Afghanistan. I like being out there. I think it worries my mum but I just keep my head down.”

And Ansdell soldier Lance Cpl Luke Morrison, 29, who now lives on camp with his wife and three children, said: “It’s good to be back here.

“I preferred the hot weather in Cyprus but it’s always good to be back.

“It’s a lot better being round here not just for me but for all the lads because they get home to see their families a lot more.”

But Lance Cpl Morrison isn’t planning on being away from the action for too long.

The former King Edward School pupil has already signed up to return to Afghanistan with 3rd battalion the Yorkshire regiment next year.

However, the regi-ment as a whole will be formally in control of Weeton Barracks for the next four years, and the weekend’s parade also marked the regiment’s 5th birthday.

Around 160 soldiers paraded before the Regimental Colours were raised to mark the unit’s official arrival in Weeton.

Lieut Col Robbie Boyd, the 2nd battalion’s commanding officer, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to be in Weeton, having set a couple of records as a battalion with three years in Cyprus and a record-breaking 15 and a half months on operations in Afghanistan.

“The wonderful thing about my soldiers over that 15 months was they helped Afghanistan get better for ordinary people, roads have been built, schools have been built.

“We take great pride in what we’ve managed to achieve. We will now prepare hard for future operations wherever we may be required and we promise to continue to do the North West proud.”