Operation Haven

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An end to the suffering

The work of the coalition forces gradually reduced as all of the refugees were re-settled in their towns and villages. 45 Commando returned to the UK during June and 40 Commando in July.

An old man, living in one of the camps, collects firewood. (RMM)
An old man, living in one of the camps, collects firewood. (RMM)

A residual force remained just inside the Turkish border under US Command. The British component was 40 Commando’s B Company – a Company that claimed that they were the first to arrive and went deepest into Iraq - now were to be the unit that stayed the longest.

On his return to the UK the Brigade Commander wrote:

'Because I have known Marines, soldiers and sailors over a number of years, it came as no surprise to me that one of the most striking qualities they have demonstrated throughout this operation has been compassion. I hope this quality will come across in the media, so that some of those at home who may have regarded the military as ‘brutal and licentious’ may change their view. Our people are tough and disciplined, but compassion is surely an essential quality in a serviceman or woman. For us all in the Joint Force, Operation Haven has been a thoroughly rewarding, stimulating and satisfying experience. I know that memories of the Kurdish people and their beautiful country will remain with us for the rest of our lives.'