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Iraq: Peace-Keeping Operations

Volume 459: debated on Thursday 3 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been made for members of Royal Welsh Regiments 1 and 2 to visit friends and families before deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. (132161)

The First and Second Battalion the Royal Welsh will be deploying to both Afghanistan and Iraq this year (in the case of the Second Battalion the Royal Welsh the entire unit will deploy to Iraq; the First Battalion the Royal Welsh will send troops to both theatres).

Generally, commanders will ensure that troops who are about to deploy receive up to three consecutive weeks leave during the two months prior to deployment.

The First Battalion the Royal Welsh (1 RW) is based permanently in Cyprus, and in most cases spouses and children are located with the unit. The elements of 1 RW who will be deploying have already had their pre-deployment leave (Friday 30 March to Wednesday 18 April). However, a handful of personnel were not able to take this in full owing to operational commitment. Arrangements are in place for those affected to return to their home base and receive the balance of leave owed shortly after the unit arrives in theatre.

The Second Battalion the Royal Welsh (2 RW) is based in Tidworth, Wiltshire. 2 RW have been on leave since after duties on Friday 30 March and returned to work on Monday 23 April.