South West Wales

Homecoming parade for Royal Welsh after Afghanistan tour

Members of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh have marched through Swansea in a homecoming parade to mark their return from Afghanistan.

The occasion remembered Capt Stephen Healey, 29, and Cpl Michael Thacker, 27, who died during the tour.

The city also signed a community covenant to support members of the armed forces and their families.

The parade began on Oystermouth Road and went through the city centre to Brangwyn Hall.

Speaking before the event, Lord Mayor of Swansea Dennis James said: "This will be a historic day for the city when its links with the armed forces will be celebrated and sealed in the new covenant.

The 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers), which returned in October after a six-month tour, has been supporting the ongoing security and reconstruction work in Helmand Province.

Capt Healey died in May when his vehicle was caught in a blast in Helmand province.

Cpl Thacker was on his third tour of Afghanistan when he was shot while on duty at an observation post on 1 June.

Commanding Officer Lt Col Stephen Webb, who is originally from Swansea, said: "We have had so much support from the communities around Wales while we've been away and the soldiers are so grateful for that.

"To return home and take part in these events provides us with an opportunity to say thank you for that support.

"It was a long tour and so much was achieved, but not without sacrifice."

Image caption The soldiers said they were grateful for the support they had received from around Wales while they were in Afghanistan

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