Returning soldiers march through Manchester city centre

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, have been marching through Manchester after a six-month tour in Afghanistan.

Three members of the regiment, which recruits from the North West, were killed during the deployment.

Crowds lined the streets of the city centre for the march, which was the first of five taking place across the region this week.

Earlier, troops took part in a service of remembrance at Manchester Cathedral.

The 120 soldiers will also be marching through Warrington, Blackburn, Lancaster and Carlisle - all towns and cities in which they hold the freedom to march.

Col Peter Rafferty said: "It's an important event in our regimental calendar to mark the return of our troops from their recent operational tour.

"We very much enjoy being there in Manchester and renewing our links with the city and its citizens."

It also gives soldiers the opportunity to "renew links that a deploying army can sometimes lose if they are not local and visible all the time", he added.

Members of the battalion were reunited with their families at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, in a homecoming ceremony last month.

Their colleagues Cpl Taniela Rogoiruwai, L/Cpl Jordan Bancroft, from Burnley, and Kingsman Ponipate Tagitaginimoce were all killed while on operations.

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