Thousands of people have lined the streets of Nottingham to welcome home soldiers from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. More than three hundred troops from the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment took part in the homecoming parade.
They returned in April, after a six-month tour largely spent supporting the Afghan security forces. Lt Col Colin Marks, the Battalion's commanding officer, said it had been a tough winter and the men were glad to be home.
It was a proud moment for the soldiers and their families, but also a time to honour two fallen comrades who didn't come home. Captain Rupert Bowers and Private Matthew Haseldin were both killed during the tour. Before the march, the two men were remembered in a service at St. Mary's Church.
The homecoming parade passed through the city centre to Old Market Square, where the soldiers took the salute from the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. It finished at Nottingham Castle, where six soldiers from the city received their tour of duty medals. Among those taking part today was Lance Cpl David Hughes who was cherishing time with his six-month-old daughter Holly.
He was fortunate to get a few days leave in January to be present at her birth.The Battalion recruits heavily from the Midlands, and over the next two days the soldiers will also march through the streets of Derby and Worcester.
In July and August, they will be back in service, not in Afghanistan but at the All-England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, where the Battalion is helping out with security during the Olympic Games.