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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 December, 2004, 17:21 GMT
TA soldiers get rousing reception
Territorial Army soldiers march into Westminster HQ
The Messines Company march into their HQ in Westminster
Sixty Territorial Army soldiers returning from Iraq have received a rousing reception in central London.

The reservists from Messines Company, a composite company from the London Regiment, were greeted at the London Scottish TA centre on Saturday.

More than 300 people turned up to meet the soldiers who they had not seen for at least six months.

The Messines Company was responsible for protecting the Divisional HQ at Basra Airport in southern Iraq.

As the soldiers marched into the London Scottish TA centre they were greeted with tickertape, bagpipes and huge cheers.

Sgt Rob Denman with his son James and daughter Amy
Sgt Rob Denman is united with his son James and daughter Amy
Colour Sergeant Rob Denman, a 37-year-old prison officer from London, said: "It was tough but it was good. I'll remember how the people lived in Iraq and I believe we made a difference to their lives.

"I'll be resting up over Christmas."

During the ceremony there was an inspection by the commanding officer and a blessing from the Reverend Paul Abram, the chaplain at the Tower of London.

Addressing the company, Deputy Commander of London District, Brigadier Martin Vine, said: "Down in southern Iraq, we are painfully but gradually going towards having some form of peace and some form of self rule, hopefully democracy.

"We are rebuilding utilities and we are making progress."

All reservists received an operational medal in recognition of their contribution to the UK's peacekeeping and humanitarian effort in Iraq.

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