THE Swindon-based TA soldiers who went to the Gulf War have returned to heroes' welcomes and rightly so.

Their assigned role, which they were mercifully not called on to play, was a benign one. Had Saddam Hussein unleashed chemical weapons, the TA unit would have protected anybody in the vicinity and minimised the horror.

The political wrangles over whether this was a just war will go on for years, although it should be noted that many coalition troops, including members of the Swindon group, say they were welcomed with open arms by Iraqis jubilant at Saddam's downfall.

But today and for a little while, let us not concentrate on that. Let us instead think of people like Jackie Howell, welcoming fiance Neil Garfoot home after weeks of worry.

Let us think of Sarah Jane Masters, who did her soldiering job unflinchingly and has the courage to point out deficiencies in equipment but still admits she missed her mum. Let us think of human beings.

From all of us armchair generals to all of you who were out there for real, welcome home.