Thousands turned out in the bright sunshine to welcome 250 servicemen and women from The King’s Royal Hussars in Leyland on Saturday.
Waving Union flags, family and friends saw the parade off from the town’s Civic Centre with cheers and applause before a waiting crowd saw the troops march through the town centre.
Marking the beginning of the Remembrance weekend, the homecoming parade was an opportunity for the soldiers to thank the people of Leyland, South Ribble and the wider community for its support, particularly during operations in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Colonel Alex Potts, commanding officer of The King’s Royal Hussars, said: “We are delighted to be having a homecoming parade in the North West, and Leyland in particular. Most of our soldiers are from the region and the whole Regiment is always made to feel at home whenever we visit.”
The Mayor of South Ribble, Coun Colin Clark, added: “We are enormously pleased to have the King’s Royal Hussars as Honorary Freemen of our borough. This is a very special occasion for me personally, on what promises to be a poignant weekend.”
The regiment, which was honoured with the Freedom of South Ribble in 1992, recruits from the North West but is based in Tidworth, Wiltshire.
It recently returned from a six month tour based around Lashkar Gah, the first district in Helmand to transition to Afghan control in 2011.
The Lashkar Gah Transition Support Unit, led by The King’s Royal Hussars, was so successful that it switched from a counter insurgency role to focus on the training of Afghan forces, particularly community policing. The Regiment’s efforts along with their Afghan partners saw the insurgency contained further and the Afghan National Security Forces ever more capable of providing enduring security to this region, according to regiment officials.
* See Monday’s Evening Post for the full story and two pages of pictures from the event.