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Kent-based soldiers to be sent to Iraq

SOLDIERS from Canterbury serving with the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment are expected to be on active service in Iraq by early January.

The 1st Battalion of PWRR nicknamed The Tigers recently returned from Iraq and now it is the turn of the 2nd Battalion, currently based in Ternhill, Shropshire.

A senior officer confirmed: "We are going to Iraq but nobody has yet told us when."

Some Army sources say that the Tigers could be ordered to move before Christmas and be near the so-called Triangle of Death, southwest of Baghdad, by Christmas Day.

Others say that the 650-strong 2nd Battalion will be deployed as a reinforced battle group of 1,000 men shortly after Christmas in the run-up to the first democratic elections in Iraq for more than half a century on January 30.

The battalion has completed its intensive pre-deployment training and both soldiers and senior officers say that morale is high.

The final decision on precisely when the battalion will deploy will be taken shortly by Maj Gen Bill Rollo, the officer in command of British forces in Iraq.

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