May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Paul Geater
Thursday, October 11, 2012
BOROUGH councillor and former soldier Alasdair Ross has called for a massive turnout for the Royal Anglian Regiment’s homecoming parade through the town next month.
Mr Ross was a career soldier before returning to Ipswich and being elected to the borough council in 2008.
The following year he rejoined his former regiment, The Rifles, for a six-month tour in Afghanistan – and said that the support on the home front was vital.
He said: “I asked the mayor’s office to see if we could get a homecoming parade in Ipswich because I know it will mean such a lot to a local regiment like the Royal Anglians whose members are recruited from this region.
“I was not in the Royal Anglians, but I have served alongside them and I know that the local links are very important, especially when you are somewhere like Afghanistan.
“People are from the same part of the world but there is intense friendly rivalry between those from Ipswich and Norwich, especially with football!
“The last time they returned home from Afghanistan there were parades in Norwich and Bury and I was very keen to make sure we had one here in Ipswich this time.”
About half the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment (The Vikings) have already returned home from the front and are currently on leave.
The rest are due to return over the next few days, and they will then have some time off before returning to their base in Wiltshire at the end of the month.
There will be a succession of homecoming parades during the week starting November 5 – the day they will be marching through Ipswich.
Mr Ross said: “I never took part in any homecoming parades but there were a couple for The Rifles when we returned from Afghanistan, one in Croydon and one in Liverpool.
“The Rifles recruit all over the country, so it is a bit different for a county-based regiment like the Royal Anglians where family and friends are concentrated in particular areas.
“Many service personnel don’t like drill, but they like the chance of marching past their friends and family – and they will enjoy the reception at the Corn Exchange!”
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