For this week’s Reading Nostalgia, we are going back to 1999 to focus on the Kosovo War.

You may ask what relevance this has got to do with Reading, but 22 years ago when the conflict ended, troops from the town discovered more than 20 mass graves in the country, which was ripped apart by devastation.

 

The Kosovo War ended in 1999

The Kosovo War ended in 1999

 

The battle began in 1998, and once the conflicted ended, over 100 members of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire regiment faced on of their toughest ever missions, which was part of the NATO peace keeping operation.

 

One of the soldiers

One of the soldiers

 

The graves were based in the towns of Glogovac and Lipijan, and due to these two places being the only areas where a form of police and authority was being conducted, the soldiers were not only reminded of the mass destruction, but the pain of what the war had done to those in the country.

 

Many people died in the war

Many people died in the war

 

Company commander Major Nick Welch from Reading said: “When we arrived we went to Glogovac.

“The village was just devastated.

“Over 90 per cent of the village was burned out and over 2,000 people had been killed in the war.”

 

Soldiers were sent out across three counties in England

Soldiers were sent out across three counties in England

 

The troops that were sent out had the gruesome tasks of identifying mass graves in Kosovo, and by the time the original story had gone to print in 1999, the soldiers had discovered around 21 sites.

 

One of the residents in Kosovo with a soldier

One of the residents in Kosovo with a soldier

 

The bodies of those who had been killed had been dumped by Serbian forces.

Corporal David Renals, another of the troops in the area, added: “I have been on a number of patrols in the area where I have seen atrocities or mass graves.”

 

A soldier with a Kosovian woman during the war

A soldier with a Kosovian woman during the war

 

The sight of the mass graves killings had made its mark on the Reading soldiers, many of whom were in the teens at the time.

 

The soldiers in the country

The soldiers in the country

 

One of the soldiers stopped to lay flowers in a field which had numerous unmarked and freshly dug graves.

 

Many people died in the battle

Many people died in the battle

 

Once in the area, the soldiers also spoke to locals to offer support.