Leeds & West Yorkshire

Yorkshire Regiment 3rd Battalion homecoming parade

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Media captionThe soldiers have recently completed a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment has marched through Halifax as part of its homecoming parade.

The battalion lost nine soldiers in the tour of Afghanistan, and returned to its Wiltshire barracks in September.

More than 400 soldiers, the military band and mounted police marched through the town to Piece Hall earlier.

The parade started at the Shay Stadium and was followed by a service at the Minster to remember comrades who had died in the conflict.

Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, Pte Daniel Wade, 20, and Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, died when a bomb exploded under their vehicle in Helmand province on 6 March. Also killed was Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, who was on secondment to the regiment.

'Joy and pride'

Pte Gregg Stone, 20, was shot during an operation to rescue a policeman kidnapped by insurgents in June.

Image caption Monica Kershaw said Christmas would be a "very hard time" for her family

Sgt Gareth Thursby and Pte Thomas Wroe were shot and fatally wounded by a rogue Afghan local policeman in September.

Canon at Halifax Minster Hilary Barber told the BBC the service was a "celebration for the lads who were coming home".

Monica Kershaw, mother of Pte Christopher Kershaw who died earlier this year, said: "It's lovely to see all the soldiers coming back, even though we haven't got Christopher. It's a nice tribute to be paid, for the soldiers who aren't coming back.

"It's such a nice atmosphere. They've [soldiers] come up to me and told me to carry on. It's been lovely to see them and speak to them and hear memories of Christopher."

Ms Kershaw said the support from other mothers and families who had experienced the death of a loved one had "carried her".

"It helps me that I'm not alone because I've got support from the others," she added.

Mayor of Calderdale Councillor John Hardy said the homecoming parade would be "an unforgettable day of joy and great pride".

"It is a privilege to welcome the battalion back to their home town of Halifax. They have a long history with the town, and people who live here hold them in high regard," said Mr Hardy.

The regiment is due to march through York city centre where a Thanksgiving Service at York Minster will be held on Wednesday.

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