STALYBRIDGE and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds joined the people of Tameside on Monday (November 8, 2010) to mark the homecoming of the 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire).
The Mercian Regiment, which recruits in areas of Tameside, has just returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. And to mark the occasion 450 members of the Regiment paraded through the town, accompanied by the Band of the Prince of Wales Division.
Crowds of people – including political and civic leaders – turned out to show their support for the Mercian Regiment, which recruits from areas in Tameside.
Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who is Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces, was among those lining the streets of Hyde.
He said: “Many members of the Mercian Regiment are recruited from the Stalybridge and Hyde constituency.
“And I am pleased that the people of Hyde seized this opportunity to express their admiration and their gratitude.
“For the past six months the Regiment has been working in difficult and often dangerous conditions. And this was a rare opportunity to recognise their courage and commitment.”
However, as well as marking the homecoming of the Regiment, for the people of Hyde it was inevitably a reminder of those soldiers who have not returned.
Cpl Harvey Holmes, who had been a popular and active member of the Hyde community, was one of 12 fatalities suffered by the Regiment on the past 12 months.
L/Cpl Andrew Breeze, who attended Audenshaw School and was a former member of the Church Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade at Christ Church, Denton, was also killed.
Mr Reynolds said: “Sadly, not all of those soldiers who set off to Afghanistan six months ago with the Mercian Regiment have returned.
“And I know that despite the spectacle of Monday’s event, the people of Hyde were also thinking about those who gave their lives in the service of their country.
“The people of Hyde need no reminder of the risks faced by our soldiers every day. And I am pleased that the town was given this chance to show their appreciation.”
Published November 8, 2010