Diamond jubilee: Soldiers parade through Cardiff

Soldiers from 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards have marched through Cardiff as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The regiment, known as the Welsh Cavalry, took part in the homecoming parade after returning from a six month tour of Afghanistan.

The event started at Cardiff Castle at noon on Saturday with a royal salute by the guns of the Royal Artillery.

The regiment's future is uncertain with a possible restructuring of the army.

The march comes a day after a service of thanksgiving was held at the city's Llandaff Cathedral where two of the regiment's soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan were remembered.

The service honoured L/Cpl Richard Scanlon, 31, from Rhymney, Caerphilly, and Lt David Boyce, 25, from Bath, Somerset, whose vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED).

On Saturday, their colleagues lined up inside the grounds of Cardiff Castle at 12:15 BST to be inspected by Cardiff council leader Heather Joyce.

Their parade set off at 12:40 BST, led by the Band and Corps of Drums of The Royal Welsh.

The soldiers took a route out of the castle, down High Street towards St Mary Street, around Mill Lane and into The Hayes where the parade came to an end.

They then attended a reception at St David's Hall where First Minister Carwyn Jones will thank the troops for their work.

'Arduous tour'

Speaking before the parade, Mr Jones said he was "extremely pleased" to welcome home the Welsh Cavalry.

"I was saddened to hear of the regiment's two losses and injured soldiers during this arduous tour," he said.

"My heart felt sympathy goes out to the families of these brave soldiers, some of which will be here today.

"All of us owe an immense debt of gratitude to the members of our armed forces. The role they play cannot be quantified.

"They protect our security and defend our freedoms and way of life."

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, who was at the parade, added: "Today's parade is a chance for the people of Cardiff to recognise the sacrifice soldiers from Wales have made and are making to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

"We all take great pride in our armed forces and it is particularly fitting that on Jubilee weekend members of the Queen's Dragoon Guards are welcomed home to the Welsh capital following their recent tour of duty.

"It has been a difficult time for the regiment having so recently lost L/Cpl Richard Scanlon and Lt David Boyce, who gave their lives to protect the freedom of others."

The parade comes amid uncertainty over the regiment's future.

Although defence officials have said no decision has been made, campaigners fear the regiment could be merged with another and up to 500 soldiers sacked.

The UK government has plans to cut the number of British troops from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020.

The parade is the regiment's second in Wales since their return from Afghanistan - they also marched through Swansea on Wednesday.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites