Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Royal Scots Borderers awarded Freedom of the City of Edinburgh

1 SCOTS parade
Image caption The homecoming parade took place down Edinburgh's Royal Mile

Soldiers who spent six months training security forces in Afghanistan have been awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.

About 450 troops from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, took part in a parade to mark their homecoming.

The Princess Royal, the battalion's Royal Colonel, also presented medals at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The 1 SCOTS are based at Edinburgh's Dreghorn Barracks.

In Afghanistan, 1 SCOTS were tasked with training and mentoring members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) to help them prepare to take over their own country's security when Nato troops pull out next year.

The battalion were deployed in September last year and got back to the UK earlier this month.

During their tour, Capt Walter Barrie, 41, was shot dead by a member of the ANA in a so-called "green-on-blue" attack as he played football at Forward Operating Base Shawqat, in Helmand Province.

At the time, Capt Barrie, from Glasgow, was described as a dedicated husband, a loving father of one teenage son and a "soldier's soldier".

Image caption Princess Anne presented service medals in a ceremony outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Commanding Officer Lt Col Ben Wrench paid tribute to him during the parade down the Royal Mile.

Lt Col Wrench: "He was a great and fine officer and it is tragic we march down these streets without him.

"But as we do so, and as we go back with our families to our barracks in Dreghorn to celebrate, we have him very much in the centre of our minds.

"Our thoughts will always be with his family who sadly will not have their husband or father returning to them.

"We carry on with the spirit he left us with, which was of great determination and professionalism."

Princess Anne presented the Operational Service and United Nations Medals to those who took part in Operation Herrick 17 in Afghanistan, as part of Task Force Helmand, and Operation Tosca in Cyprus.

The princess also visited the battalion and other units when she travelled to Helmand Province in December.

Lt Col Wrench added: "The homecoming parade gives us the chance to thank all those who supported our families whilst we have been deployed, and particularly during some very difficult times."

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