THOUSANDS waving Union flags lined the streets of Southampton to show their support and gratitude to the men and women of 17 Port and Maritime Regiment.

Among the 350 Marchwood-based troops were soldiers who have just completed their six-month tour of Afghanistan with all returning safely from the war zone.

They were presented with service medals by Princess Anne the Princess Royal, the regiment’s Colonel in Chief, who chatted to many of the soldiers who marched in their desert kit.

The parade began in Mayflower Park where hundreds of cheering friends, relatives, supporters and schoolchildren lined the park’s length.

Young and old watched as the troops, accompanied by the band of the Royal Logistics Corps, paraded along the waterfront and then waited for Princess Anne’s arrival.

Wearing a green double-breasted jacket and matching skirt, the princess took centre stage as she watched a sail past featuring five different types of vessel used by the regiment worldwide.

Then troops marched up through the High Street and under the Bargate where a cannon was set off showering the troops in blue, red and white confetti.

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Full coverage of the march on pages 2, 3, 4 and 5 of today's Daily Echo.