Friday, April 17, 2009

City welcomes returning soldiers - BBC

To watch the BBC video report click here

Crowds of well-wishers have lined the streets of Plymouth to officially welcome home members of the 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery.

A total of 450 Plymouth-based soldiers paraded through the city to mark their homecoming following a six-month deployment in Afghanistan.

The march began from their base at the Royal Citadel on the Hoe and ended at St Andrew's Church for a service.

Two members of the regiment were killed during the tour in Helmand Province.

Capt Tom Sawyer, 26, from Hertfordshire, died in an explosion during an operation against enemy forces in central Helmand province on 14 January.

A month earlier, 26-year-old Lt Lewis Aaron, from Essex, was fatally wounded when the gun position he was commanding in the Gereshk area of Helmand Province came under attack on 15 December.

The 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery were in Helmand Province in the south of the country providing specialist artillery support for 3 Commando Brigade, which is based at Stonehouse in Plymouth.

This was their second tour of duty in Afghanistan in the past two years.

A medal presentation took place at the Piazza at lunchtime following the remembrance and thanksgiving service.

Afterwards the troops marched up Royal Parade, around the fountain and past St Andrew's before heading back to the Citadel.

Although the majority of the regiment is based in the Royal Citadel on Plymouth Hoe, it also has batteries in Poole and Arbroath.

Lt Col Neil Wilson RA, commanding officer of the regiment, presented the medals at the ceremony in the Piazza.

He said: "Having been stationed in Plymouth for the past 57 years, we very clearly see the city as our home base.

"The people of Plymouth have supported us superbly throughout our deployment and today gave us an opportunity for us to say thank you."

One member of the regiment unable to attend the ceremony was Cpl Simon Vaughan who remains seriously ill in Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham after being injured by a road-side bomb in December.

However, while the ceremony took place, he simultaneously received his medal in hospital, from Lt Col Colin McClean, in the presence of his wife and son.

No comments:

Post a Comment