Telegraph: Heroes welcome for returning British troops


Heroes' welcome for returning British troops

By Tom Chivers and agencies
Last Updated: 2:58am GMT 06/12/2007

Ten thousand people lined the streets of Nottingham today to welcome home British troops returning from Afghanistan, local police said.

The Second Battalion of the Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) paraded through centre of the Midlands city as crowds of locals lined the route, waving flags and applauding.

Ten thousand people lined the parade route for the Mercian's homecoming

The Ministry of Defence said that it was one of the largest parades for returning troops in British history.

Lieutenant-Colonel Simon Banton, commanding officer of the battalion, said: "The boys take a huge amount from it. All they crave is recognition for their efforts. To see it recognised today is tremendous.

"I think there is a genuine mark of separation between the war and the soldiers who are fighting the war.

"The regiment has such strong community links with Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Worcestershire. On war memorials here there will be the names of relatives who have served before us."


The 350 men of the battalion had served in Gereshk, a market town in Helmand Province. They had been working to establish local governance after years of Taliban rule.

The troops responded warmly to the public respect. Private Jamie Grocock, 25, from Nottingham, said: "It was a great turn-out. It touches you when you hear people clapping. It makes you feel proud.

"Out there in Afghanistan you don't think you get a lot of respect but coming here shows people appreciate what we are doing."

Private Iain Melrose, 28, added: "What has happened is that with the loss of people, it brings it home to people back here what we go through."

Glad to be home: A Mercian appreciates what he's missed
Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: "There's a very strong link between the city and the regiment.

"I think today is a genuine show of affection and I think it is right and proper that a great city like Nottingham gives a great reaction to the regiment as it comes back from Afghanistan.

"It's a very difficult posting, but they have done very well and obviously we remember the soldiers who lost their lives fighting."

Local people on the parade route stressed the difference between supporting the war and supporting the warriors. Jean Bullock, 64, from Nottingham, said: "I have got a son in the Royal Marines and I just appreciate what the lads are doing.

"I cannot agree with them being out there, but I just want to show my appreciation for what they have done."

Builder Nathan Lewis, 18, agreed. He said: "They have been out there in Afghanistan and people say we were wrong but we have done it for peace. We need to show our appreciation."

Nine Mercians were killed on their tour of duty. Before the parade, the troops, their families and members of the public, including veterans of other wars, attended a special service of remembrance at a local church.
with kind of feeling amongst the people of the country at the moment, (and this is really starting to get some momentum) and the governments apathy towards the armed forces, they better watch out at the next election, hope the tories are taking note about this, would be a huge vote winner for them if they really got behind the armed forces

nice to see the guys reminded that the UK is not populated by just hostile lefties, disinterested unwashed and a MoD intent in getting them all killed.
Welcome home lads.
Another reason to buy the Torygraph. I do, because it headlines more forces stories and slightly less rubbish about that monkey hanger and his wife.

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