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Soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS), who have recently returned from Afghanistan, are marching through the streets of Scotland this week to celebrate their homecoming.
In keeping with tradition dating back hundreds of years, around 400 soldiers from the battalion paraded through the streets of Ayr yesterday morning and Glasgow yesterday afternoon to show their thanks for the support that members of the public have given them during the past seven months.
The battalion is also due to march through Penicuik at lunchtime today.
Traditionally Ayrshire and Glasgow have been recruiting grounds for 2 SCOTS. Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Bob Winter, commenting on the parade held in Glasgow, said:
I am always immensely proud in my capacity as Lord-Lieutenant to take the salute at the homecoming parades in our city. Our citizens’ warmest wishes go to these brave young men and women. We are indebted to our Armed Forces for their professionalism and dedication.
South Ayrshire Council also commented on the parade in Ayr:
We know that the 2 SCOTS really appreciate the support shown to them by the public when they have paraded through Ayr before. “There is no better way for the public to demonstrate this to them than to come to Ayr - watch them marching and cheer them on.
2 SCOTS are based at Glencorse Barracks, Penicuik. They are a light role infantry battalion and are currently part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. They recently returned from Operation HERRICK 13 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where they had the role of the Security Sector Reform Battle Group.
Lieutenant Colonel Dougie Graham, Commanding Officer of 2 SCOTS, commented on the battalion’s return and the homecoming parades, saying:
The parades are an important part of the process of returning to the United Kingdom following an operation. They are joyful public events that allow the Jocks to march with pride through the towns and cities that many of them are from and be proud of their achievements.
It also gives the families a chance to see their sons and daughters receiving just praise for the work that they have done from members of the public who, ultimately, they protect.” Speaking about their recent deployment Sergeant Stephen Carr said the mission had been tough but successful, adding:
During my six-and-a-half months in Afghanistan I saw huge progress being made as we worked in partnership with the Afghan National Police. They have come a long way and it is very rewarding to see that the work being done out there has improved their skills.
The people who have turned out to watch today’s parade just confirms the support the guys have felt throughout our time there and it’s really nice to put faces to the members of the public who have been behind us.
The soldiers marched to the sound of bagpipes and onlookers gave them a round of applause as they passed, with some starting to walk alongside them.
The final parade at Penicuik today, Wednesday 4 May 2011, will also see members of the battalion receiving their Afghanistan Operational Medals during a private ceremony at Glencorse Barracks.
The Regimental Colonel, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, will take the salute as the troops march through Penicuik.
The Provost of Midlothian, Councillor Adam Montgomery, said he was looking forward to welcoming the troops home. He commented:
I wouldn’t miss the homecoming parade and I’m sure, like me, local people will line the streets to mark the occasion. I would like to thank them all for their efforts in Afghanistan.