Colchester soldiers in homecoming march after Afghanistan

More than 600 soldiers have marched through an Essex town centre to mark their return from Afghanistan.

The Freedom of the Borough of Colchester was exercised by 16 Air Assault Brigade, which is based at the town's Merville Barracks.

The parade, led by the band of the Parachute Regiment, began at East Hill and travelled through the town centre to North Hill.

The brigade was granted the Freedom of Colchester in 2008.

It has been exercised once before, in July 2009.

The 16 Air Assault Brigade is the British Army's largest brigade with 8,000 personnel.

Speaking before the march, Brigadier James Chiswell, who commanded the brigade in Afghanistan, said: "The support Colchester has provided to troops and their families every time we have been deployed on operations has been phenomenal.

"It was enormous source of strength for us during the recent tour of Afghanistan.

"We were looking forward to the chance to parade through Colchester as a demonstration of the value we place on links with the town we are proud to call home."

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