Soldiers from the 1st Royal Tank Regiment marched through Liverpool on Saturday to mark their return from Afghanistan.
The regiment is based in Bury St Edmunds, but recruits from Merseyside, and it was a chance for the people of Liverpool to show support and thank soldiers for their efforts in Afghanistan.
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Britton told the BBC: “This homecoming parade marks the end of a superb year and one in which the officers and soldiers of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment have demonstrated in spades their leadership, flexibility, professionalism and highly developed skills and drills.
“This parade is an opportunity for friends and families of the regiment and the communities on whom we depend to come out and show their support.”
Following the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers Band, around 100 soldiers marched from the Anglican Cathedral to the Town Hall, before they gathered by Exchange Flags. Hundreds of people had gathered around the square, some waving Union Jacks and shouting: “Welcome back, we’re proud of you.”
G-Squadron leader Major Mike Fielder spoke to JMU Journalism about his experience in Afghanistan: “It was different for everyone on where they were. It was worthwhile. It was fulfilling. Some soldiers had some quite difficult times, but everyone came back in one piece which is the main thing. We all feel proud about what we achieved, and this was a nice way to sign off on it.”
The soldiers recently returned from a six-month tour of Helmand province in Afghanistan. The situation in the Helmand province has been described as the most brutal conflict the British Army has been involved in since the Korean War. The Royal Tank Regiment has been using Mastiff armoured vehicles to provide support and protection to infantry soldiers.
Sergeant James Walker enjoyed marching through the streets of Liverpool. He told JMU Journalism: “It was good to come back home to your home city. Just everyone saying ‘thanks for what you’ve done’ and everyone is proud of us.”
Lance Corporal Thomas Newton was glad to see the support from the streets. He said: “It was made a lot better because we did not lose any lads out there, which is unusual and very lucky. The support when we came into the city was brilliant.”