Members of the Commando Logistic Regiment (CLR) Royal Marines have received their Afghanistan campaign medals from His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh following a homecoming parade in Barnstaple.
A crowd some 11,000-strong turned out on the streets of Barnstaple - that’s more than half of the small North Devon town’s populace - during one of the most memorable days in the regiment’s history, on 17 November 2011.
In the sunshine and beneath a cloudless sky, the CLR men and women, based at Chivenor, a couple of miles outside Barnstaple, marched proudly through the market town to the cheers and applause of their families, friends and locals who jumped at the opportunity, in the words of the mayor, Councillor Ian Roome, ‘to say welcome back’.
In addition to the thousands of Devonians in Barnstaple, the Captain General of the Royal Marines, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, took the salute before returning with the troops to their base to preside over an official medal ceremony.
The Duke presented many of the medals himself before making a speech acknowledging the support network provided by the friends and families of Service personnel.
Events in North Devon come hot on the heels of parades by CLR’s parent unit, 3 Commando Brigade, in Plymouth and Exeter, which saw huge turnouts as the public thanked the Brigade for the sacrifices made on the nation’s behalf during the past six months in Helmand province.
In the case of the Commando Logistic Regiment, its duties were to maintain vehicles, run combat logistic patrols - delivering crucial supplies to outlying bases, provide medics for front line bases and act as mentors to the Afghan National Security Forces.
Lieutenant Paul Falconer, Officer Commanding CLR’s Combat Forward Surgical Group Medical Squadron, said:
The rapturous applause as they were led on the parade by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines was a true testament of the jubilation felt by every single person; it was plain to see from the smiles that everyone had a good time.
The Royal Marines have been at RMB [Royal Marines Base] Chivenor since October 1995, but never has the bond between the public and the troops been so strong.
Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines
The CLR is situated at Chivenor in North Devon. It is home to about 620 personnel from all three Services, including mechanical engineers, medics and logisticians. No other unit has such an eclectic mix of cap badges working together.
The regiment’s purpose is to provide every aspect of combat service support for 3 Commando Brigade, anywhere in the world. In particular the regiment’s aims are to provide support for brigade amphibious operations when sea-based, during offload across a beach or port, and over a large battlespace on land.
CLR has proven the importance of its existence and roles in recent operations in Afghanistan. The regiment deployed in its entirety on Operation HERRICK 9 and the men and women of CLR were granted seven honours and awards in recognition of their outstanding achievements.