250 soldiers of 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards marched through the streets of Cardiff yesterday to a hero's welcome from hundreds of well-wishers lining the streets of the city.
The Battalion returned from a tough six month tour in Afghanistan in October. Seven of their number lost their lives in the fighting including their CO, Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe; the others to lose their lives were Major Sean Birchall, Pte John Brackpool, LCpl Dane Elson, Lt Mark Evison, LSgt Tobie Fasfous, Gdsm Christopher King.
During their tour the Welsh Guards were a key component of the major summer offensive known as Operation PANCHAI PALANG (PANTHER's CLAW) and captured the towns of Chah-e Anjir and Basaran, both of which were under Taliban control.
Now, back home in Wales, the guys are receiving due recognition for their valiant work fighting the Taliban. Guardsman Christopher Davis said: "To see all the support that we get is great and it's nice for our families to see us marching. It does bring back memories though, especially of the guys who didn't make it back. It would have been nice if they could have been marching with us."
The Freedom of the City of Cardiff Parade will be followed by other homecoming parades across Wales. Marches will be taking place:
March 8th - Swansea
March 11th - Merthyr Tydfil
March 12th - Newport
March 16th - Bridgend
March 24th - Caernarfon
March 26th - Rhyl
The Cardiff parade also marked the launch of Armed Forces Day 2010. Cardiff has be chosen to be the focus of the national celebration which this year will be taking place on June 26th. Brigadier Russ Wardle, Commander of the Army in Wales, said: “Armed Forces Day is designed to be an opportunity for the nation to express its gratitude to the men and women who have served in the armed forces for them and it is a chance for the armed forces to show themselves off a bit. I have no doubt Cardiff will put on a great show.”
Well done, the Welsh Guards! Well done, Cardiff!
Cymru am Byth!
BBC: Welsh Guards stage homecoming parade in Cardiff
MoD: Welsh Guards launch Armed Forces Day 2010 at parade
MoD: Welsh Guards return from Afghanistan
MoD: Welsh Guards in action in Operation Panther's Claw (video)
The Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal