It should have been a day of celebration - the safe return from Afghanistan of 200 soldiers based in Cambridgeshire and Essex, who today received their campaign medals.
But instead: flags at half mast and moments of reflection alongside the celebrations after the news that one of their fellow Royal Engineers had died from injuries he suffered in Afghanistan.
Today's medal parade is an important opportunity for these soldiers to reflect on their tour of duty and celebrate their achievements with friends and family, but inevitably thoughts also turn to those who can't be with them today.
Foremost in many minds - a fellow soldier from 33 Engineer Regiment based at Wimbish in Essex who died yesterday after being injured by an explosion last week in Afghanistan.
Major Rich Hallett, EOD and Search Task Force, said: "On a day like today, it's really galling to return with a broadly intact task force, we can without any fatalities to learn that someone from the next task force has suffered, so our thoughts are very much with the family. It's an extremely difficult time."
These soldiers are all members of the army's bomb disposal unit - tasked with finding roadside bombs and detonating them. It's dangerous work that's changed some of their lives forever.