Thousands of people turned out in Taunton, Somerset to give a hero's welcome to 400 Royal Marines from 40 Commando on their return home after a seven month deployment in Afghanistan. A chance for the town to honour the sacrificies they made - "we're so proud of them" one resident said.
It wasn't all joyful: three comrades were killed fighting the Taliban and a special civic ceremony was held in their memory and honour. Lieutenant Thornton and Marine Marsh both died when the vehicle they were travelling in was caught in an explosion in the vicinity of Kajaki, Helmand Province, on March 20th. Corporal Mulvihill was killed in an explosion while taking part in an outreach patrol to disrupt enemy forces north of Sangin, Helmand Province on February 20th.
One marine said about the reception they had received in their home town: "It's good to get the recognition from the public and a good way to remember the lads who never came back". Major Dan Cheeseman said: “It was overwhelming. Not long ago, we wouldn’t have worn our uniforms in public. Now we just can’t shake enough hands.”Well done 40 Commando! Well done Taunton!
Link> Somerset Gazette: Taunton Marines receive heroes' welcome
Link> BBC: Returning Commandos hailed (video)
Link> The Sun: A big difference one year on
Link> MoD: Crowds honour 40 Commando's Afghanistan deployment
Link> The Sun: Homecoming joy for Royal Marines
YouTube: 40 Commando Royal Marines in Afghanistan February 2008