I can proudly say I was there yesterday to watch the parade and it was fantastic to see the turn out welcoming these boys home!
THE brave personnel of Plymouth's 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery were given a rapturous welcome home in the city centre.
Thousands of people lined the streets to cheer our soldiers on as they proudly paraded from the Citadel, along Royal Parade and into the Armada Way Piazza.
Union flags were seen waving in the air throughout the morning and early afternoon, and cries of joy could be heard from the families of those who have been on deployment with the regiment in Afghanistan.
It was a day tinged with sadness, however, with Captain Tom Sawyer and Lieutenant Aaron Lewis, both 26, from 29 Commando â€“ and Corporal Daniel 'Danny' Nield who had been attached to the regiment â€“ at the forefront of many people's minds. All three men were killed in action during the six-month deployment.
But it was also a day of colour in the city centre to give the regiment a well-deserved pat on the back after a tough few months in service.
Apart from the parade, there was also a medal-giving ceremony in the Piazza and a memorial and thanksgiving service at St Andrew's Church for the three men who died â€“ and for the safe return of the regiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Neil Wilson, the regiment's commanding officer, told The Herald it had been a 'proud' day. He said: "We are proud as you can be. It was an amazing turn-out and we were very pleased about the day. We feel very much a part of the city.
"Inevitably there were tears at the memorial service. It gave the soldiers who weren't able to attend the funerals an opportunity to attend a service for those who were lost in theatre."
The regiment had returned home from deployment over the past few weeks â€“ but yesterday was its official homecoming parade after it spent six months in Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick 9.
During the six months, some of the 450 men and women in the regiment took part in more than six large-scale operations involving Royal Marines and multinational forces.
And Plymouth wanted to celebrate 29 Commando's safe return in style