THREE South Cheshire soldiers are coming home after an action-packed six-month tour of duty in Iraq.
Major Danny Wright, of 6 Headquarters Squadron, 22 Engineer Regiment, and Lance Corporal Paul Livingstone and Private Mitch Tyler, both of 1st Battalion the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment, have been playing vital roles in helping the war-torn country return to normality.
But their tour also coincided with the tensions leading up to the transfer of sovereignty, and the explosion of violence in August after the uprising by the Sadr militia - followers of the rebel cleric Moqtada al Sadr.
Their task was not helped by temperatures of up to 58 degrees centigrade.
A Cheshire Regiment spokesman said: 'Tensions are still high as Iraq heads towards the elections in January, but the legacy of the Cheshires and the Royal Engineers will remain - improved schools, a police force gaining confidence, modernised clinics, safer oil wells and pipe lines and cleaner streets.
'And the Iraqi children dressed in the new football strips provided by the soldiers will certainly not forget them.'
The soldiers of the Cheshires, who are normally based in Bulford, and 22 Engineer Regiment, in Tidworth, Wiltshire, on the edge of Salisbury Plain, were among nearly 9,000 British soldiers who were under command of the Multi National Division (South East).
In August there were 108 attacks by mortars and rocket propelled grenades on the four camps around the city where the Cheshires were based.
All patrolling and movement around the city was stopped until an estimated 400 militia were persuaded by religious leaders to stop the fighting.
The role of the regiment was to enforce law and order and to help the Iraqis build up the infrastructure of their country. Much was achieved and despite the uprisings in August, the soldiers were back on the streets again in September with their soft hats on.