MARINES TO PARADE THROUGH ARBROATH Published Date: 21 May 2009 SEVEN hundred members of 45 Commando Royal Marines, recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, will march through Arbroath tomorrow (Friday) in a homecoming parade. The unit wishes to exercise the right granted by the Freedom of Angus to parade through the streets of the burgh. The civic honour was granted to the commanding officer and all ranks of 45 Commando in September, 2003, in recognition of their servi ADVERTISEMENT ce and the long and close association the unit has enjoyed with the area. The parade, which will begin at 12 noon, will move from Victoria Park along Arbroath High Street, accompanied by the Royal Marine Band of Scotland, to Arbroath Abbey where Provost of Angus, Ruth Leslie Melville and the Lord Lieutenant of the county Mrs Georgiana Osborne will take the salute. Tragically, 12 personnel from the Battle Group were killed in action during this deployment, nine of whom were men from 45 Commando Group. A number of others sustained very serious injuries, mainly from the damage caused by the enemy's improvised explosive devices. Provost Leslie Melville said: "We in Angus are proud and pleased to welcome home members of 45 Commando Royal Marines following their recent tour of duty in Afghanistan. Our delight at their safe return is tempered with sadness for the colleagues they have lost, and our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of those who lost their lives." 45 Commando returned in April from Afghanistan, where they served as 'Battle Group North' in Helmand Province, throughout the Upper Sangin Valley. The work was tough and dangerous, but the marines made genuine, tangible and sustainable progress, in order to deliver security and local governance to the Afghan people. The unit also enabled voter registration to take place, in preparation for the 2009 Afghan elections later this year. During regular patrols the men discovered a number of Taliban weapons, hideouts and drugs stashes. Commanding officer of 45 Lieutenant Colonel Jim Morris said: "We're very proud of our links with the local community, so it's a tremendous honour to parade through our home town of Arbroath. It's an opportunity for us to say thank you to all those in the area who supported us. That support to the men and their families cannot be underestimated, and was very welcome. "We had a tough but successful six months in Helmand, and I'm proud of the marines' achievements. We made real progress in the region - delivering security and local governance to the Afghan people, allowing schools, shops, health clinics and offices to open in the region. "We also found and destroyed a number of Taliban weapons and opium. This success has come at a cost and we pay great tribute to our marines who sadly made the ultimate sacrifice, or were wounded in battle. Enduring and sustainable progress was certainly made, but it was gritty, slow and dangerous work."