Malmesbury welcomes home 9 Regiment from Afghanistan
SOLDIERS home from a six-month deployment in Afghanistan were greeted by a cheering crowd as they marched through the centre of Malmesbury.
The joyful homecoming was shared with family, friends and hundreds of local people who lined the Cross Hayes today for a medal ceremony with a difference.
For as well as seeing their parents receive their operational medals, the children of the men and women of 9 Regt Royal Logistic Corps who went out to the war zone were also presented with mini medals to recognise their suffering.
General support squadron Maj Lou Riddell, whose parents came to see the parade, said: “We had a very successful tour. There were some difficult times – challenging times – and an awful lot to do. But we achieved what we set out to do by the end of the tour and everybody came home safe and sound.
“We were given such a warm welcome by the regiment and coming to somewhere like this and seeing the general public supporting us is so rewarding.”
Ex-Burford Community College student Pt Kieran Faulds, 19,who comes from Brize Norton, was on his first deployment.
“Before I went I just really wanted to get out there and do my job,” he said.
The driver, who has been in the army for two years, was part of a team working long hours and driving huge distances to close down six forward operating bases., all in full body armour.
“My girlfriend and my parents were a bit worried,” he said. “I expect they are pleased to have me home.”
The soldiers’ children were given a front row seat to watch their parents’ medals handed over by dignitaries including Lord Lieutenant Sarah Troughton. Then it was their turn.
Charlie Cutting, five, said he had missed his Staff Sgt dad Lee. “It was weird without him,” he said. He was able to speak to him on the telephone occasionally. But: “I missed playfighting with my dad.
His friend Cai Richardson said one of the biggest things he missed about his mum Sgt Leanne, was her breakfasts. “I gave her a hug when she came back,” he added.
After the parade the 350 soldiers, including territorials, marched up the high street for a service at the abbey. Many were later treated to tea and cakes baked by an army of volunteers at a reception in the town hall.
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