A service took place in Salisbury Cathedral today to mark the return - from Afghanistan - of the 1st Mechanised Brigade based in Wiltshire.
The brigade's main role while on tour was to support and train members of the Afghan Army and Police. As Martin Dowse reports - today was also a chance for the soldiers to remember those who didn't make it back.
The Brigade Commander Brigadier Rupert Jones MBE said: “With the focus of the Brigade being Tidworth and Bulford it is a great privilege for us to be hosted in Salisbury today.
“I think it is very important at the end of a tour that you do commemorate your fallen and sadly we had others back here in Britain who died, it is important to remember them and also pause and remember the Afghans who died during the tour as well.
“This summer the Afghans took the lead for the first time, it was a genuinely decisive moment where they had to stand up and they did that very, very, effectively and exceeded everyone’s expectations, not least their own.
“Now the Brigade turns its attention to the next challenge with the Army restructuring.
“The Brigade will take its rotation on to readiness in due course as we re-role into an Armoured Infantry Brigade in 2014 and that is where our focus is.”
Soldiers from 1 Mechanized Brigade have attended a Thanksgiving & Memorial Service at Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire.
The service marked the return of the Brigade from its recent tour of Afghanistan, and commemorated personnel who lost their lives in Helmand and the UK.
More than 6,000 personnel from the Brigade deployed on Operation Herrick 18 from April to October 2013 as Task Force Helmand (TFH), the first and last deployment that the Brigade will undertake.
“It was a very moving service we were unfortunately commemorating the loss of three personnel in Afghanistan and four from the Brigade who died in the UK.
“So it was a very touching service for all those who knew them including their families.
“This was also a thanksgiving both for the senior officers to thank the troops under their command and for the nation to thank the troops who have been serving in Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 18 for the magnificent work they have done in support of the Afghan National Forces.”
– Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence, Equipment, Support and Technology,