Lee Thornton made a video-diary to reassure his family that he would return safe from his Iraq mission - tragically he never did.
THE Fylde coast is preparing to welcome its soldiers home as the British military presence in Iraq officially came to an end.
Yesterday's announcement brought the six-year campaign in the war-torn country to a close.
The end of combat operations came a month ahead of schedule and moving tributes were paid to the 179 UK troops who lost their lives.
A memorial service was held in Basra to honour those who died,
including 22-year-old Blackpool soldier Gunner Lee Thornton who was killed by a sniper's bullet while out on patrol in Basra in September 2006.
His heartbroken mother Karen welcomed the news of the withdrawal. She said: "I am glad the troops are pulling out.
"My only hope is that we do not have to go back to Iraq.
"It would be nice if
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