Northampton crowds greet troops returning home

Crowds lined the streets of Northampton to welcome troops home from Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Thousands of people waved flags and applauded as about 200 members of the 9th/12th Lancers marched through the town centre.

The troops were accompanied by the Army's light cavalry band and two tanks as they made their way from the Market Square down Abington Street.

The parade stopped outside All Saints Church to salute.

Major Lee Burnett, from the regiment, said the parade was important to the soldiers.

"Back in 2009 following our last tour of Iraq we did a very similar thing and the support from the public and the local population was overwhelming," he said.

"Some of the soldiers said it was the best thing they had done whilst they had been employed with the Army."

Loss and injury

Many of the troops had been away from home for six months and the regiment had endured the loss of one of their soldiers.

Mr Burnett said: "Unfortunately we lost one soldier during the deployment and we have a number of soldiers who have been injured with life-changing injuries.

"However no deployment to Afghanistan really occurs without those injures."

Jamie Lane, Mayor of Northampton, said the high turnout for the parade did Northampton proud.

"It's a very important event," he said.

"We can give thanks to those people who are serving in Afghanistan, fighting for our freedom, and training the Afghans to form their own armies and police forces.

"It's great that we came out today to support them."

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