Parades mark homecoming for county's regimental heroes

Brian Dooks

THE Band of the King’s Division led soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment yesterday as they began a series of parades marking their homecoming from six-month operational tours in Iraq and Kosovo.

Members of the 1st Battalion – The Prince of Wales’s Own – most of whom have family in Yorkshire, marched through York and Harrogate to exercise their Honorary Freedom, which their hold in cities and towns across the county.

Today the chairman of Yorkshire Cricket Club, Colin Graves, will present their operational service medals at the cricket ground in Scarborough.

Tomorrow the 130 soldiers will march through Hull and Beverley. On Saturday the series of parades will end in Leeds. The 1st Battalion has recently returned to its base in Germany.

Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jonny Price, the Battalion deployed to Iraq in November 2008. It was part of the UK’s military training mission in Basra which partnered and developed the Iraqi Army to provide security for the country.

In addition to military mentoring, the Battalion also played a major role in enabling local reconstruction and development – being involved in numerous projects such as football pitches, schools and health clinics.

The Yorkshire Regiment’s ‘B’ Company deployed to Kosovo in September 2008, concurrent with the Battalion’s deployment to Iraq, marking the final contingent of the UK commitment.

The Company undertook numerous operations and tasks to support the wider NATO mission of providing a stable and secure environment for the people of Kosovo.

Army spokeswoman Penny Veale said: “The parades in both Harrogate and York went extremely well. The crowds turned out in spite of the weather in Harrogate and showed their support, which was much appreciated by the soldiers, who are absolutely delighted to be back in their home county.”

Tomorrow’s parade in Hull starts in Londesbrough Street at 11am and ends in Hanover Square.

In Beverley the soldiers begin marching from Burton Road at 2.30pm and the salute will be taken at Saturday Market.

Saturday’s parade in Leeds begins at the Civic Hall at 11.45am and proceeds through the city centre, returning to the steps of the Civic Hall where the salute will be taken.