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- 50 members of the Royal Marines 40 Commando will return today (February 13).
- Around 650 left on tour at the end of August/start of September last year.
- They were serving in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
- Families to greet soldiers at Norton Manor Camp this afternoon
GRANT Plummer with partner Samantha Chadwick and daughters Grace and Aliyah.
CHRIS O'Neill with wife Jules.
NICK Lapthorn with mum Amanda
Welcome home to the 50 members of the Royal Marine 40 Commando who return from Afghanistan today @RMA1664 @RMCTF— @emv1308 13 February 2013
A COACHLOAD of Marines is expected to arrive at Norton Manor Camp shortly before 4pm, the base has confirmed.
LATEST report from Norton Manor Camp is that the first coach of Royal Marines from 40 Commando has just left RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
They are expected in to Norton Fitzwarren at around 3pm.
SPEAKING to BBC Somerset, Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson explained what the tour has involved over the past few months.
He said: "In the amount of time we have been here, there are visible signs of progress.
"We are working with the Afghan police and authorities to give them the confidence that they can take over once we step out."
The tour has seen the loss of Corporal David O'Connor along with three other soldiers on attachment for 40 Commando.
During the interview, which took place a month ago, Lt/Col Jackson said: "It is one of those things that you prepare yourself to happen that people may not come back - it is the nature of the task.
"We just give all our thoughts and prayers to all of the four that worked with 40 Commando and their families because what they have gone through it heart-wrenching.
"People understand what has happened but with the pace of life while on tour makes you move on.
"When we get back they will be a period of reflection to put things into context and to make sure there are no lasting issues."
Pictured below is Lt/Col Matt Jackson
TODAY'S homecoming for 50 Royal Marines from 40 Commando is one of several trips that will take places over the next couple of months.
British forces will be pulled out of Afghanistan by 2015 on a staggered basis.
@GazetteDMilli Thinking about all of you and praying for your safe return.— @SmeatonCaroline 13 February 2013
@GazetteDMilli Happy Landings to all!— @FensecLtd 13 February 2013
Welcome back boys! So pleased they're safely back🙏 https://t.co/NuG0gZBx— @BethanBaigent 13 February 2013
TO show your support for the remaining troops in Afghanistan, you can display one of our 'We're Backing Our Boys' posters available from our offices in St James Street, Taunton, and Buff Urban Day Spa, in Station Road, Taunton.
You can also leave your messages of support below to let them know you care - just use the comments facility on this story and we'll post some of the best.
THE first set of troops are expected to arrive at Norton Manor Camp this afternoon where they will be greeted by family and close friends.
Major Keith Stanton told the County Gazette the phased return will hopefully see the rest of the 500 troops back on home soil by the middle of April.
He said: “It is nice for the lads to be home but we can’t get too excited because most people are not back.”
THE return is marked with sadness too as Corporal David O'Connor, 27, who had been a Royal Marine for almost ten years, was killed alongside Corporal Channing Day from 3 Medical Regiment when their patrol came under fire in October.
He was described by colleagues as ‘one of the best’.
Two other British soldiers attached to 40 Commando, Lt Edward Drummond-Baxter and L/Cpl Siddhanta Kunwar, were shot dead by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform on October 30.
FIFTY members of the 40 Commando Royal Marines will return from Afghanistan today (February 13).
Around 650 troops, based at Norton Manor Camp, Norton Fitzwarren, left to Nahr-e-saraj in the Helmand Province at the end of August/start of September last year but have beem flown home as part of a phased return.
Keep checking this story for updates throughout the day.