War zone soldiers to march in town

THE people of Motherwell will have the opportunity to welcome our brave soldiers home from Afghanistan next month.

For the first time the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 Scots) will parade through the town as they return from a successful six-month tour of operations in the dangerous Helmand province.

The Motherwell parade on Monday, April 15, will be the first of five such events as the battalion tour the areas traditionally associated with recruitment to the now defunct King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

An Army spokesman said: “To thank the people of Motherwell for their support whilst the soldiers were deployed and to mark their safe return. the Battalion will parade through the town.

“The public’s continued support for the soldiers remains vital to the mission in Afghanistan and provides a huge boost to morale. I would urge people to go along and welcome them home.”

There are currently more than 400 1 Scots troops still deployed in Helmand, ready to hand over control of the region to native forces with the pull-out of British troops now well underway.

Around 150 of them will parade from the Territorial Army Centre in Muir Street to Motherwell Civic Centre from 2pm to 3pm on April 15.

It is particularly fitting as a starting point as several members of the TA Unit (6 Scots) based in Motherwell were stationed with 1 Scots carrying out operations in Afghanistan.

The soldiers will take a salute from the Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire, Mushtaq Ahmad, outside Motherwell police office at 2.30pm before attending a civic reception with North Lanarkshire Provost and armed forces champion Jim Robertson.

Provost Robertson said: “This will be a very special occasion and the parade will give an opportunity for people to show their gratitude and respect for the courage being shown by our armed forces personnel.

“The council will be organising a civic reception to mark the soldiers’ return from a dangerous six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, and I am sure local people will want to recognise their bravery by coming out to welcome them back.”

The finalised parade route will be published nearer the time along with any necessary road closures.

An identical event will take place in Hamilton the same day.