Yorkshire Reservists home after East Africa deployment

Over 30 soldiers from the 4th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (4 YORKS), have returned after a three-month stint in Kenya.

After covering force protection duties for Exercise Askari Storm over Christmas and New Year, Kohima Platoon arrived back in York in late February.

In a short ceremony at Worsley Barracks, the troops were addressed by Lieutenant Colonel Blackhurst, Commanding Officer (CO) of 4 YORKS, before heading back to their families and civilian workplaces.

He said: "I’ve received nothing but praise from the Army in Kenya for the way in which our Reserve platoon have performed their duties, worked with local community projects in their time off, and also made use of all the travel and training opportunities available to them whilst in Africa.

"We now look forward to delivering yet another defence output in Oman later this year."

4 YORKS are only the second ever Reserve unit to have ever covered this particular set of duties, normally undertaken by regular (full-time) counterparts, which included guarding a camp in Nanyuki and protecting up to around 400 service personnel who are based in it.

Whilst in Kenya, Yorkshire’s Reserves also conducted career training courses for potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officers (JNCOs), visited two local community projects, enjoyed some deep sea-fishing in the Indian Ocean, and visited Ol Pejeta Nature Reserve.

Captain Rob Philips, who commanded Kohima Platoon, said: "For most of us, the last three months has been a series of firsts: first opportunity to fulfil a regular Army commitment, first time in Africa, first helicopter flights, and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see wildlife in its habitat.

"We even had a triple birthday celebration in Kenya for Lance Corporal Blackie, Private Petty, and Private Wakelin!"

4 YORKS are predominantly Reservists, located in Barnsley, Catterick, Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Sheffield, and York, but are led and administered by a small group of dedicated regular Army personnel.

Approximately 150 of the unit's soldiers were deployed to support Operation Rescript, the military endeavour to assist partners across government in the fight against Covid-19, in April 2020.