Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Homecoming Parade: from Basra to Cardiff

This morning the BBC and Western Mail have reported on the homecoming parade of The Royal Welsh.

Hundreds of soldiers have been given a heroes' welcome as they marched through Cardiff city centre to mark their return home from Iraq. About 450 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh took part in the homecoming parade.

Some 220 who had been on their first tour of duty in Iraq were presented with medals at the Millennium Stadium.

The parade celebrated the end of the tour of duty, and three soldiers who lost their lives were also remembered.

For the ceremony - hosted by the Welsh Assembly Government - the soldiers, led by the Lucknow Band of the Prince of Wales Division and a Warrior armoured tracked vehicle, marched from Cardiff Castle, along St Mary Street to the Millennium Stadium.

In front of their families, friends and members of the public, the Iraq medals were presented ahead of a lunch party on the pitch.

Three members of the battalion who lost their lives in Iraq - Cpl Paul Joszko, L/Cpl Ryan Francis and Pte Craig Barber - were honoured at the ceremony. Two other soldiers who died in Iraq while attached to the Royal Welsh from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland - Pte Jamie Kerr and Pte Scott Kennedy - were also be remembered.

Commanding officer Lt Colonel James Swift said:

We are very lucky to be able to mark our return to Wales in such style and pay a fitting tribute to our fallen comrades.

Congratulations to the Welsh Assembly Government for thinking of holding a parade in the first place, and more so to those returning, on a challenging job well done - Welcome home. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen as this is also a time to remember them, and that their contribution will not be forgotten.

Two surprises from my perspective:

  1. Why wasn't the event better advertised so that more of the public could take part in welcoming our soldiers home, and pay respect to those who had lost their lives?

  2. I never realised that Health Minister Edwina Hart, has responsibility within the Assembly Government for liaising with the armed forces and veterans. It might be a good idea to find out what other responsibilities each Minister holds in addition to their main ministerial role.

1 comments:

Anonymous 11 December 2007 at 22:01  

Trouble is if it was too well publicised then the rentamob crowd would be out cat-calling or banging their drums

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