East Cleveland soldier returns home with 'sweetheart' gift for regimental museum

A SOLDIER who helped lead a cavalry troop to storm a machine gun nest is to bring the gun home.

Sergeant Tony Richardson, 30, of Skelton in East Cleveland, was a lead member of the 60-strong troop which seized the Soviet-era weapon. It will be now presented to a regimental museum.

Sgt Richardson and his comrades from the elite Brigade Reconnaissance Force attacked a bomb-making factory in Helmand Province.

The soldiers poured out of two Chinook helicopters and ran towards the factory in Upper Gereshk Valley. The enemy fled, abandoning the DShK 0.50 machine, nicknamed a Dushka, or “sweetheart” in Russian.

Sgt Richardson, who serves in the Norfolk based Light dragoons, led a section from B Squardron, Light Dragoons.

“They did not have time to man the weapon,” Sgt Richardson said. “That was lucky for us because it would have been in a good position to do serious damage to our helicopter on the way in.”

The Light Dragoons, based at Dereham in Norfolk, returned from a six-month tour of duty in October and the gun, which took three men to carry, will be presented to the regimental museum. The Dushka can fire bullets half-an-inch thick at 600 rounds-a-minute.

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