22 Field Hospital in Aldershot

Medals for Medics

Members of 22 Field Hospital who served in Afghanistan, were presented with their service medals by the Countess of Wessex in Aldershot.

Duke of Gloucester presents medals

Medals for proud Army medics

The Duke of Gloucester was in Aldershot today to hand out operational service medals to 4 Medical Regiment.

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Soldiers celebrate their final homecoming with parade

Medals presented by Major General Tim Radford Credit: British Army

Around 80 soldiers have marked their final homecoming from Afghanistan by holding a medals parade in front of family and friends a their regimental home at Robert Barracks, Larkhill in Wiltshire.

The soldiers at the barracks in Wiltshire today Credit: British Army

Soldiers from the 57 Battery of the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery were often deployed at short notice and concurrently in Afghanistan and Iraq, until they were withdrawn in 2008.

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Last brigade posted to Afghanistan train in Wiltshire

Soldiers from the final brigade to head to Afghanistan have been training in Wiltshire. 4000 troops are heading to Camp Bastion for the last time, bringing to an end Britain's 13 year involvement in the conflict. More than 400 sevicemen and women have died since operations began.

ITV Meridian spoke to Armed Forces Minister, Mark Francois MP.

Tributes for Hampshire servicemen killed in Afghanistan

by Richard Slee

Family and friends have been paying tribute, today, to the five servicemen killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. They were, they said, dedicated, professional, full of life. Four of the men - fathers and husbands - were based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.

The Ministry of Defence says the crash was a "tragic accident" - the worst involving a British helicopter in Afghanistan since the campaign began in 2001.

The Lynx helicopter came down during routine training in southern Afghanistan - in the Takhta Pul district close to Kandahar Airfield.

Defence experts have denied claims by the Taliban that they shot it down - and believe the crash was caused by a technical problem. Richard Slee reports.

Lost Afghan bird swoops in on soldiers

Come here birdy, birdy...... Credit: MOD

Military staff were surprised when an Afghan fighting bird swooped by their Helmand headquarters.

As officers continued with the ongoing mammoth task of returning kit from Camp Bastion, a lost partridge found itself inside the large building in Britain’s desert base.

Feathered friend has a look around the base Credit: MOD

The distinctively-coloured birds, known as Chukar partridges in central Asia, have existed for centuries and were bred in the past to fight in several regions of Afghanistan.

But on this occasion one merely perched on the rafters at Joint Force Support (Afghanistan), where staff are overseeing the return of thousands of items of kit and people to the UK.

Headquarters Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer 2 Stuart Evans, cajoled the flyer to a safe area outside the main building, where it enjoyed a bite to eat before flying off.

WO Evans, from Wickham, Hampshire, said: “This is a busy headquarters working on a major task, so we’re usually focused on the detail of that.

“It simply strolled in, but attempts to usher it outside made it head for the roof space. It was certainly a welcome distraction and talking point as it moved around the HQ.”

At sea for Christmas: Sailors feeling festive on board HMS Westminster

Sailors enjoying their Christmas dinner on board HMS Westminster Credit: Royal Navy

Royal Navy sailors on board the Portsmouth based warship HMS Westminster have been enjoying a traditional Christmas dinner at sea.

Tucking in: 80kg of turkey was taken on board Credit: Royal Navy

The Ship, which will be away over the Christmas period, had been hoarding away in her freezers 80kg of Turkey along with 20kg of Beef and Gammon, 120kg of potatoes, 30kg broccoli, 30kg carrots, 150 yorkshire puddings, 300 pigs in blankets, 20kg brussel sprouts and to top it off, 15 Christmas cakes.

The ship has been on counter drugs and piracy operations Credit: Royal Navy

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Flooding continues: River Medway in Maidstone

High water. The River Medway in Maidstone Credit: ITV Meridian

The towpath disappeared along the River Medway in Maidstone.

54 Flood Warnings remain in place across the south east and 100 Flood Alerts are in place where residents are told that flooding is possible.

For more details from the Environment Agency click here.

Christmas on the frontline: Messages from our troops in Afghanistan

Troops from the Meridian region serving in Afghanistan this Christmas have been sending their special messages to loved ones back home.

It comes as the Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated his pledge to pull soldiers out of the country by the end of 2014.

The troops included in this Christmas message are:

Sapper Ben Msichilli from Maidstone, Lance Corporal Nicola Thompson from Bournemouth, Air Trooper Leo Domeisen from Bournemouth, Corporal Matthew Rogerson from Reading and Signaller Tom Page from Hastings.

First man in UK with mind-controlled prosthetic arm

Corporal Andrew Garthwaite, who lost his arm whilst serving in Afghanistan, has become the first person in the UK to receive a mind-controlled prosthetic limb.

Andrew has shown off his prosthetic, which was fully funded by the Ministry of Defence, to his peers during his visit to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Headley Court.

Corporal Andrew Garthwaite in Afghanistan Credit: Defence Imagery
The team using specialist software to link his mind and nerves to move the prosthetic Credit: Defence Imagery

Corporal Garthwaite was injured by a rocket propelled grenade on operations in 2010.

But after 18 months of world class rehabilitation, he is now able to control movement of his prosthetic arm with his mind, by focusing his thoughts on the nerves connected to muscles in his chest.

Testing the prosthetic by unwrapping a sweet Credit: Defence Imagery
Andrew showing colleagues at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Credit: Defence Imagery
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