Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 18:36 UK

Parades for soldiers' homecoming


The red-coated Kohima Band led the march through Southampton

Two parades have taken place in Hampshire to mark the homecoming of soldiers recently returned from tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan

Soldiers from 1st Battalion Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment marched as hundreds of people crammed into Above Bar Street, Southampton, to watch.

About 300 soldiers led by their red-coated Kohima Band were cheered and applauded as Union flags were waved.

They later paraded in Romsey after a service at Romsey Abbey at 1430 BST.

Southampton parade route
Civic Centre car park: 1200 BST
Civic Centre Road
Above Bar Street
Bargate Monument
Above Bar Street
Eyes right at assembled VIPs
Civic Centre Road
Civic Centre car park: 1225 BST

The soldiers, nicknamed the Tigers, also attended a "civic welcome" in Romsey Market Place and visited a local school for a reception.

The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment is the most decorated of all British Army regiments, with 57 Victoria Crosses awarded to members of its troops.

Eight of the regiment's soldiers were seriously wounded, but all are said to be recovering well.

Southampton City Council's deputy leader Royston Smith, a former RAF engineer, said: "It's absolutely important when you send people potentially to risk their lives on your behalf that you recognise that when they come back."

The regiment is taking part in eight parades this week.

On Monday, hundreds of people turned out to watch the regiment n a homecoming parade in Portsmouth.

Romsey homecoming parade
Hundreds of people welcomed the soliders in Romsey

During the parade, thoughts turned to those who had been injured from the regiment and to Pte John Brackpool, 27, a former Tiger, who was killed last week during one of the UK's bloodiest periods in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the first of eight parades was held in Worthing, Sussex.

The battalion will march through Guildford, Surrey, on Wednesday, Lewes, Sussex, on Thursday, Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury, both in Kent, on Friday and Saturday respectively.

The soldiers recently returned from their base in Paderborn, Germany.

A further parade for the city's Territorial Army regiments, which were last year given the freedom of the city and have also seen service in Afghanistan and Iraq, are due to take place later this summer.

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