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Thurrock welcomes home brave battalion
3:51pm Thursday 28th February 2008 in News
HUNDREDS of Thurrock residents welcomed home the 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment at a special parade at the council's civic offices.
In front of dozens of visiting dignitaries as well as veterans of past conflicts, the unit marched down New Road before being inspected by Thurrock Mayor, councillor Diane Revell.
The unit, dressed in desert fatigues, received a rapturous reception from locals in an emotionally charged parade.
Nine of the unit died in active service in Afghanistan during 2007.
Inside the chamber, the Mayor expressed her thanks to the unit.
She said: "On behalf of all the people of Thurrock, we thank you for your courage, bravery and honour. You make us feel very humble."
Battalion leader, Lieutenant Colonel Vincent MBE was moved by the warmth of Thurrock residents' response.
He said: "The battalion faced over 40 skirmishes with the Taliban. We lost good men. The recognition that you have given us here today is highly valued."
After the ceremony, soldiers mingled with residents including pupils from Stifford Primary school.
Deputy Head Sarah John said: "It was a moving experience. The pupils told the soldiers they were very proud of them. They came back to school and have written letters of thanks to them."