Homecoming parade through Tameside to celebrate return of troops after gruelling six-month tour of Afghanistan

By Pippa Field

An army regiment will receive a hero’s welcome next month with a homecoming parade through Ashton-under-Lyne.

After a gruelling six-month tour of Afghanistan, the troops from Returning 1st Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment will parade through the streets to the town hall on Wednesday May 22.

Cllr Kieran Quinn, executive leader of Tameside Council, was confident friends, family and residents alike would come out in force to celebrate their return.

“Tameside is very proud of its military heritage and always keen to support for the armed forces,” he said.

“I’m sure the streets will be packed with people wishing to welcome the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment home from a tough tour of Afghanistan.”

Accompanied by the Band of the King’s Division, the soldiers will be reviewed by the Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment, Brigadier Mike Griffiths.

It will also be attended to by Cllr Joe Kitchen, who will be performing his first duty as the newly installed Civic Mayor of Tameside.

Meanwhile retired Colonel Chris Owen, regimental secretary of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment explained the event would also be a way for the soldiers to give their own thanks.

“We’re extremely proud to have the soldiers of the 1st battalion back from service in Afghanistan and delighted we can mark that return in Ashton-under-Lyne,” he said.

“The people of the town, Tameside and Greater Manchester as a whole are hugely important to the regiment.

“Many of our soldiers have homes here. This parade is our way of saying thank you for all the support we receive.”

The Lancasters descend from the Manchester Regiment which had its depot at the town’s Ladysmith Barracks for more than 100 years up to 1958.

They merged with the King’s Liverpools to form the King’s Regiment which, in 2006, became part of the newly-formed Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

The King’s Regiment was given the freedom of Tameside in 1994, and the honour was bestowed on the Duke of Lancaster’s in 2007.

Image courtesy of marylinnell, via YouTube, with thanks.

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