Afghan soldier is welcomed home to Grantham by his fighting family

Three generations in the forces. Left to right are Andrew Wiltshire, Nigel Wiltshire, Geoff Wiltshire and Alan Overall. (photo ref 266C)
Three generations in the forces. Left to right are Andrew Wiltshire, Nigel Wiltshire, Geoff Wiltshire and Alan Overall. (photo ref 266C)
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SOLDIERS returning home from a war zone often struggle to express to their family the reality of life on the front line.

However, this is one problem Grantham Gunner Andrew Wiltshire, 20, need not worry about. On his return from Afghanistan this month, he was greeted by his father, Sgt Nigel Wiltshire, and his two grandfathers, L Cpl Geoff Wiltshire and Sgt Alan Overall.

Proud dad Nigel joked: “He looks up to his dad - of course he does!

“But it’s not just me, it goes back generations - at least five or six generations in the Army.

“I was very happy when Andrew said he wanted to join up - ecstatic. Mum was not so keen so we had to talk her round and take her with us to the careers officer a few times!”

Gnr Andrew Wiltshire admits his family ties influenced his decision to join up.

He said: “Because I knew my dad was in, I wanted to do it from an early age and I wanted to see if I could do it.”

Andrew, who joined up straight from school after attending Grantham Church High School, has just completed his first tour of duty and expects to return in around 18 months.

He said: “It was challenging.

“At the moment I am back to normal regimental life but I will probably go back in 2014.”

Andrew’s grandfather, Geoff, joined up in 1963, serving in Germany, Aden and Colorado Springs in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

“The soldiers broke things and we fixed ‘em,” said Geoff.

Andrew’s other grandfather, Alan, was in the RAF from 1958 until 1970, spending time in Germany and the Far East. He recalls a particularly memorable episode when he was lucky to escape with his life.

Alan said: “I was flying in a chopper in Borneo and we had an engine failure - which was quite a common occurrence.

“We had quite a heavy landing and were waiting for another chopper to come and get us but when it arrived it crash landed on top of us!

“And as far as I know it’s still there!”

Alan wisely decided at this point to make the trip back by road.

l Are you welcoming your loved one back from Afghanistan?

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