Thousands greet Mercians in Mansfield
Thousands of people turned out in Mansfield to greet the Second Battalion he Mercian Regiment as they marched through the town centre yesterday (17 March) as they exercised their Freedom of the District.
Hundreds of soldiers who fought side by side with the Afghan National Army during some of the fiercest fighting ever seen in Helmand Province are set to parade through Mansfield on Wednesday, 17th March.
Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters), who returned from a six-month tour of Afghanistan in September will exercise their right to the Freedom of the District, led by the Regimental mascot, Private Derby.
The Battalion took part in heavy fighting during their six month tour and engaged many times with the enemy. They were responsible for the training and mentoring of the Afghan National Army, giving them the skills they need to enable them to take over responsibility for security, stability and reconstruction and improve the day-to-day lives of the Afghan people.
Whilst this training was being conducted, two Rifle companies, each of 110 men, took the fight direct to the Taliban playing a leading role in Operation Panther's Claw.
The people of Mansfield and surrounding areas from which 2 MERCIAN recruit are invited to line the routes that the 300 soldiers will parade along, led by their Regimental Mascot, Private Derby.
The soldiers will step off from Bridge Street at 1430hrs. They will march to the Market Place, with the Executive Mayor, Tony Egginton taking the salute on the dias on Regent street before continuing along Westgate and Chesterfield Road South and finishing at the Civic Centre, where a Civic reception was held.
The parade is a chance for the military to thank the town for their support during what proved to be a tough tour of Afghanistan.
The Battalion's Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Colin Marks said: "These events are ideal opportunities for friends and families to welcome home 2 MERCIAN after a demanding operational tour.
"We have been overwhelmed by the support we received from the people of Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire for their Regiment and this is our way of showing our appreciation to them."