England

Soldiers' tribute to fallen comrades in Chester

Soldiers from the Mercian Regiment have paid tribute to their fallen comrades during a special service in Chester.

The 1st battalion gathered at the city's cathedral to light a candle for each of the 12 soldiers who died in the war in Afghanistan.

Cpl Harvey Holmes, 22, from Hyde, Pte Thomas Sephton, 20, from Warrington and Sgt Martyn Horton from Runcorn were among those 12 remembered.

"It was lovely, a perfect and fitting tribute," Lt Saffy Greenwood said.

The dead soldiers' names will be etched on Crich Memorial in Derbyshire.

The memorial service also marked the end of their four-day parade across the North West.

"We really had the chance to connect with the community," Lt Greenwood said.

'Seen and experienced'

"The reception we have received from members of the public as we marched through the local towns has been magnificent."

The soldiers arrived back at Catterick, North Yorkshire, on 29 October. They spent a week performing a series of administration tasks before starting their marches on Monday.

They visited Hyde, Macclesfield, Crewe, Northwich, Congleton - where they were awarded their medals - Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead, Stockport and Chester.

Lt Col Andy Hadfield said the past two weeks had been busy but it had been "worth it".

"I am now looking forward to spending time with my wife Rachel and my son and daughter.

"We have been on tour in Afghanistan for nearly seven months so we all deserve a well-earned rest.

"It can be difficult coming back to normal life and re-adjusting with friends and family - it all depends on what a soldier has seen and experienced while they've been on tour."

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