HUNDREDS of soldiers will be given a royal welcome home in Hampshire after serving in Afghanistan.
About 300 soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars, the county’s cavalry regiment, will march through Winchester city centre next Monday, after they have completed a successful six-month operation in the southern proce of Helmand.
Prince Michael of Kent, the Queen’s cousin and Regimental Senior Colonel, will greet the returning heroes alongside Major General John Friedberger and Dame Mary Fagan, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire.
The Band of the Rifles will lead the parade from the Great Hall at 1.52pm, marching to the cathedral for a service of thanksgiving and carols, conducted by the Dean of Winchester, the Very Rev James Atwell, and featuring the Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir.
Lieutenant Colonel Alex Potts, commanding officer of the Hussars, said: “The homecoming parade provides a wonderful opportunity for the regiment to thank the people of Winchester and, indeed, the whole county of Hampshire for their continued support especially through the difficult times whilst on operations in Afghanistan. It is always a great pleasure and privilege to return to Winchester to reinforce our strong bond with its people.”
The Hussars were deployed to Helmand on Operation Herrick 16 between March and October.
The regiment, which was based in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, did not suffer any fatalities during its posting.
Lashkar Gah was the first district in Helmand to start the process of transition to Afghan control of security in 2011. That process was supported by the International Stabilisation and Assistance Force led by the King’s Royal Hussars.
They were so successful that their task evolved from leading the counter insurgency campaign to advancing the training of Afghan forces to improve local security.
The King’s Royal Hussars is an armoured regiment now based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, with a long and distinguished history which includes a 200-year period as a horsed cavalry regiment.
Today its soldiers are equipped with an array of armoured vehicles up to the Challenger 2 main battle tank.