Scots soldiers to leave war zone before Christmas

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WIVES and other family members of Scots soldiers shed tears of joy yesterday as 60 came home early from Afghanistan in time for Christmas.

The members of the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, flew back to Edinburgh three months earlier than planned as part of the Ministry of Defence’s troop reductions.

The cuts will see the number of service personnel in Afghanistan reduce from 9,500 to 9,000 before Christmas.

The soldiers had been deployed to Helmand Province in September, where they were training and mentoring Afghan security forces.

They were able to hand over some bases to Afghan control, meaning the battalion is no longer needed in the country.

They will now spend the rest of their tour at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh.

The tour was tinged with sadness after the death of Captain Walter Barrie on Remembrance Day.

He was shot dead by a rogue member of the Afghan army as he played football. The 41-year-old was buried last month and was described as a “brilliant bloke” and a “soldier’s soldier” by colleagues.

Earlier this week Princess Anne flew into Camp Bastion to boost the morale of soldiers who would not make it home for Christmas.