Royal Welsh homecoming parade through Chester

Sir Alex Ferguson and The Royal Welsh Sir Alex Ferguson said this was the first time he had taken part in such an event

About 500 soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh have marched through Chester to mark their return from service in Afghanistan.

The battalion returned after a six month tour of duty in October.

The parade started and ended at Chester Racecourse, where troops received their operational medals from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Commanding Officer, Lt Col Stephen Webb MC, said the march was a special honour for the troops.

'So grateful'

He said: "We have had so much support from the communities around Wales and Chester 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."

Sir Alex said the parade was the first time he had taken part in such an event.

"I want to thank these lads for the service they've given our country," he said.

"I've got great respect for the Armed Forces. One of my best friend's son was lost in action so I know exactly what it means."

The parade was also an opportunity to remember two soldiers who were killed during the tour.

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

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

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