A MILITARY chief met soldiers of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh and their families before the Cheshire-based unit deploys to Afghanistan.
Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, chief executive of Defence Estates, visited Dale Barracks prior to the battalion’s six-month tour of duty in Helmand province.
The vice admiral’s visit marked the completion of a £10m project involving the installation of new kitchens, bathrooms, roofing, insulation, rewiring and re-plastering at 175 properties at the base.
It comes after criticism by former Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, of the government’s inadequate treatment of our Armed forces last year.
Sergeant Doug Wellington, 26, from Llangollen, lives at The Dale with pregnant wife Laura and their two-year-old daughter Grace.
Doug, who will deploy to Afghanistan next month, said of their home: “It’s ideal. We’ve been here since last August but only moved into this house two weeks ago because it’s bigger.
“It’s a weight off your mind knowing your family is comfortable and safe.”
Doug is likely to be away when his wife Laura, 26, from Wrexham, gives birth but accepts it is one of the sacrifices of being in the Army. He feels all right about his imminent deployment, but added: “That might change once I get out there.”
The 1st Battalion, whose regimental headquarters is in Wrexham, forms part of 11 Light Brigade and has a light infantry role operating on foot and from vehicles or helicopters.
The 500 soldiers and their families came to Chester last August after flying in from Cyprus from where the battalion has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Falkland Islands in recent years.