Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 18:00 UK

Families of fallen given medals at Brecon ceremony

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Sarah Adams, the mother of Pte James Prosser, said she had mixed emotions about receiving the medal

The families of two Royal Welsh soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been presented with a new medal in the Queen's name acknowledging their loss.

More than 100 soldiers from 2nd Battalion's A Company marked their official return from Helmand Province with a parade through Brecon, Powys.

Two members of the company, Privates Richard Hunt and James Prosser were killed by explosions during the tour.

The Elizabeth Cross came in to being in July last year.

The Queen gave her name to the decoration to be awarded to the next of kin of armed services personnel, in a mark of national recognition of their loss.

It was first time the name of a reigning monarch was given to a new award since the George Cross was instituted in 1940.

Pte Richard Hunt (left) and Pte James Prosser
Pte Richard Hunt (left) and Pte James Prosser died during the tour

A Company arrived in Camp Bastion in Helmand in July last year and conducted a number of operations against the Taliban with the Afghan National Army.

In August last year, Pembrokeshire-born Pte Hunt, who grew up in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, became the 200th British soldier to die in the conflict.

His vehicle patrol was hit by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during operations in Musa Qaleh in the north of the province.

He was airlifted back to the UK but died in Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham.

In September last year, 21-year-old, Pte Prosser, from Cwmbran, Torfaen, was killed in an IED blast whilst driving a Warrior vehicle.

The Royal Welsh, in its previous guises, has been proud to be honoured with the freedom of Brecon and are delighted to be granted this privilege once again
Brigadier Russ Wardle, head of the Army in Wales

Saturday's ceremony marked A Company's official return from Afghanistan and saw the Royal Welsh being given the freedom of the town.

Following a church service in the morning, the soldiers marched through Brecon at midday, led by The Regimental Band of the Royal Welsh.

The Lord Lieutenant Powys, Shan Legge-Bourke, presented operational medals and accepted the honorary citizenship of the town on behalf of the Royal Welsh from Lord Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams.

The families of Pte Hunt and Pte Prosser were also presented with their Elizabeth Cross medals.

'Proud heritage'

Brigadier Russ Wardle, head of the Army in Wales, said the Army had a "proud heritage" in Brecon.

He said: "The Royal Welsh, in its previous guises, has been proud to be honoured with the freedom of Brecon and are delighted to be granted this privilege once again.

"Brecon has a significant link to the Army, not only in an historical context over the course of the last century, but as a training ground for the modern-day soldier, and as the headquarters of the Army in Wales."



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