Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Sunday, 9 May 2010 11:39 UK

British troops mark VE Day with Red Square parade


Highlights from Russia's Victory Day parade

British soldiers have marched in Red Square in Moscow for the first time to mark the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany on Sunday.

Seventy six soldiers from 2 Company 1st Battalion Welsh Guards marched beside more than 10,500 Russian troops and others from the US and France.

The multi-million pound parade also included a 1,000-strong military band, tanks, missiles and 127 aircraft.

The UK forces were taking part at the request of the Russian government.

The British detachment also included members of the Royal Air Force band.

Lt Matt Simpson from the Welsh guards said the experience had been a great honour and privilege.

"It really was as dramatic as it looked, the band was incredibly audible and it was a phenomenal crowd, a huge amount of support, a very dramatic scene, so yeah, it was truly monumental to be perfectly frank."

Welsh guards take part in the parade

This is the first time I've been on official parade in my tunic since we've been back. It's an honour to be here
Guardsman Thomas James

The event saw 127 modern combat planes and helicopters fly above Red Square. Tributes had previously been laid against the Kremlin wall.

World leaders, including those from countries including Germany, China and Greece, were in attendance.

BBC Moscow correspondent Richard Galpin said it was a "highly symbolic gesture to demonstrate how far the rivalry of the Cold War has been pushed aside".

Mr Galpin added that no senior British figure was amongst the world leaders who had gathered to watch the parade.

He said it was unclear why the Russian government rejected an offer for Prince Charles to attend.

The commanding officer of the Aldershot-based 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, Lt Col Rupert Thorneloe, was killed during their tour of Afghanistan six months ago.

He is the most senior British army officer to die in action since the Falklands conflict. Lt Col Thorneloe died alongside Trooper Joshua Hammond when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle.

'Sense of pride'

"It was an emotional tour," said Guardsman Thomas James.

"This is the first time I've been on official parade in my tunic since we've been back. It's an honour to be here."

Guardsman Ian Mundy said: "There is a sense of pride to be in this massive parade on Red Square.

"It seems that everyone is interested in us as well and I'm proud to be a part of that."

The Welsh Guards are staying at the Moscow Military Academy as guests of the Russian Army.

Ahead of the event, they have been given a guided tour of the Kremlin, invited to concerts and taken part in a cultural tour of the city via a boat trip up the Moscow River.


Archive: Moscow's first Victory Day Parade

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