Hundreds of people lined the streets of St Neots to welcome Royal Anglian soldiers

Royal Anglians on parade in St Neots,

Royal Anglians on parade in St Neots, - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people waving Union Jack flags lined the streets of St Neots today to welcome more than 200 soldiers from the 1st Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment.

Royal Anglians on parade in St Neots, pupils from Priory Park Infants School,

Royal Anglians on parade in St Neots, pupils from Priory Park Infants School, - Credit: Archant

Civic dignitaries, children from several schools, a Normandy veteran and Aileen Guy, the mother of Alex Guy who died while serving in Afghanistan with the Royal Anglians in 2012, all attended the event organised by St Neots Town Council.

St Neots Town Council granted the Freedom of the Town to the Royal Anglians last year “in recognition of their services to the country at home and abroad” but the regiment were deployed to Afghanistan and unable to attend.

The Vikings, as the regiment is known, were accompanied by the band of The Royal Anglian Regiment and marched through the town before they were inspected by St Neots mayor, Cllr James Corley.

Cllr Corley welcomed the regiment to the town and said: “This is a great day of us all and you make a very impressive sight.”

He talked of the “very difficult and dangerous job” the regiment had undertaken in Afghanistan and Mali and also the “sacrifices both you and your families are required to make”.

Commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dom Biddick, said: “These parades are incredibly important to us. They celebrate the safe return of our soldiers from the recent tours of duty in Afghanistan and Mali. They also provide an opportunity to cement our already close links to the communities who feel the separation acutely when our soldiers are serving on operations.”

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The Royal Anglians were deployed to Afghanistan on Operation TORAL in February this year. The Operation is the UK’s military contribution to NATO’s ‘Resolute Support Mission’ where troops undertake to “train, advise and assist”.

The Vikings formed the Kabul Protection Unit (KPU) within the Kabul Security Force (KSF), working alongside US, Australian and Mongolian forces.