Soldiers were given a heroes’ welcome in a homecoming parade in Warwickshire yesterday after a bloody week for the armed forces.
Some 150 soldiers from The Queen’s Royal Hussars, the West Midlands’ local cavalry regiment, were joined by a military band including their own Pipes and Drums on a march through the centre of Warwick. The 320-year-old military company, currently based in Sennelager in Germany, returned from their third tour of Iraq in May, having first deployed there in March 2004.
The regiment has also seen its soldiers complete a tour in Afghanistan, where seven British soldiers have been killed in seven days.
Royal Hussars troops, many drawn from across the West Midlands and Warwickshire, fought to liberate Kuwait in 1991 and were among some of the last troops to leave Iraq, receiving the Battle Honour “Gulf 1991” for their efforts.
The parade was led by a Scimitar Light Armoured Reconnaissance vehicle – a small armoured tank – and soldiers gave a salute to the memorial in Warwick.
The Lord Mayor of Warwick was accompanied by the Colonel of the Regiment, Major General Arthur Denaro, to take the main salute as the soldiers marched past, through streets lined with well-wishers waving the Union flag.The regiment’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Coles, said: “The parade in Warwick marks the return of the regiment from its third tour in Iraq since 2004. Such a tempo of operations places a lot of strain on the soldiers but we should not forget the effect that this has on their families too.
“This is why support from the ‘Home Base’ is so important and why we are looking forward to being welcomed to one of our regimental homes where so many of our soldiers come from.
“This last tour was less demanding, physically, than those in the past but was still a challenge to ensure that Iraq was in good order before we began our departure. We have seen Basra change completely over the span of our three tours in Iraq and we have left very confident of the Iraqis’ capability to take the lead in providing their own security.
“It is a great honour to be invited by the people of Warwick to march through their town. We have had soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past few months with a large percentage coming from the local area; I hope that the excellent support that we have received continues long into the future.”
Meanwhile, Brig Tim Radford, commander of Task Force Helmand, the head of British forces in southern Afghanistan, said his troops were winning the battle against the Taliban amid growing concern about the rising death toll.