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45Cdo to Parade through Arbroath 22-05-2009



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
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."


Arbroath Herald

Published Date:
22 May 2009
By Gordon Cook

IT WAS a time for rejoicing and a time for sadness on Friday when 700 members of 45 Commando Royal Marines exercised their right as Freemen of the Royal Burgh of Arbroath to march up the town's High Street.

Led by the Royal Marines Band, men from Condor march up High Street towards the saluting base at Arbroath Abbey.

Rejoicing because of the end of a lengthy posting to Afghanistan, and sadness because of the servicemen from the battlegroup who lost their lives in the service of their country, nine of them from 45 Commando at RM Condor.

The parade arrived in High Street from Victoria Park just after 12 noon, led by the Royal Marines' Band.

It continued through the pedestrian precinct to Arbroath Abbey, where the salute was taken by Mrs Georgiana Osborne, Lord Lieutenant of Angus; and the Provost of Angus, Mrs Ruth Leslie Melville.

The streets were lined with many thousands of people, not just Arbroathians but others who had travelled many miles for this very moving event.

Some of the many thousands of people who had gathered to watch the march past by Royal Marines and supporting services from Condor.

Windows above shops were full of people, and as soon as the procession was within sight of the crowds at the Sheriff Court it was greeted with cheers, applause and robust shouts of encouragement.

The Royal Marines looked relaxed and very relieved to be back on UK soil; despite the formal nature of the march, there were smiles on the faces of officers and men alike.

Retired servicemen, many with Green Berets, lined the route.

Our reporter reckoned it took a good five minutes for the procession to pass him, and he estimates that the band must have been past the upper end of the precinct as the final members of the procession entered High Street.

Lord Lieutenant of Angus Georgiana Osborne and Provost Ruth Leslie Melville take the salute at Arbroath Abbey.

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."
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