Sunday, 9 May 2010

Welsh Guards salute Victory Day in Moscow

For the first time since the end of WW2 British soldiers have taken part in the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square.

76 Guardsmen from 2 Company The 1st Battalion The Welsh Guards joined 10,500 Russian soldiers and contingents from the US, France and Poland in the parade to mark the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Germany in 1945.

The sacrifices made by the Soviet people in WW2 were staggering - almost 25 million citizens were killed (including 10 million military personnel). It is not surprising, then, that the annual Victory Day parade still has an immense emotional hold on the Russian people.

Guardsman Ian Mundy said: "There is a sense of pride to be in this massive parade on Red Square. It seems that everyone is interested in us as well and I'm proud to be a part of that.'

Major Dai Bevan, Company Commander, commented: “This (experience) typifies the polarity of our job as Guardsmen and as infantry soldiers – last year we were in Afghanistan and now we’re marching in Red Square as part of his incredible occasion.

The Guardsmen's presence in the parade not only recognised that Britain and the Soviet Union fought together to defeat Germany in 1945 but also reflected the current wish of the Russian leadership to improve relations with NATO.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said: “At this solemn parade, the soldiers of Russia, the states of the CIS and the anti-Hitler coalition march together. Only together can we counter present-day threats. Only as good neighbours can we resolve problems of global security in order that the ideals of justice and good triumph in all of the world and that the lives of future generations will be free and happy.”

WalesOnline: Welsh Guards march in Moscow parade
BBC: British troops mark VE Day with Red Square parade
MoD: British soldiers march on Red Square in historic parade