SLIDESHOW: St Annes welcomes heroes of war

Hundreds of proud onlookers lined the streets to welcome home the men and women of the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment as they marched through St Annes.

The battalion is part of the North West’s Infantry regiment and recruits soldiers from throughout the region. The unit is based at Weeton Barracks.

The Duke of Lancaster's Regimentare inspected by the Mayor

The Duke of Lancaster's Regimentare inspected by the Mayor

In April, some 400 of the battalion’s soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and during the tour closed several UK bases, supported operations run by the Afghan National Security Forces and successfully handed control of Nad-e Ali to the Afghans.

They marched through St Annes yesterday for the second of three homecoming parades.

It was the last time soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s will have served in the country in such numbers.

Lt Col Neil Unsworth, commanding officer, said “It is a genuine privilege to be invited to march through St Annes on our return from Afghanistan.

“The support we have had from the people back home in the Fylde while we have been on combat operations in Helmand has been amazing.

“It made a real difference and I’d like to publicly thank everyone who took the trouble to write and send parcels.”

Fylde mayor Coun Linda Nulty said: “The people of Fylde are very proud to be associated with the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s.

“The citizens of Fylde should never forget that these soldiers put themselves in harm’s way on behalf of our country.

“We will not forget the sacrifices made by our local heroes, Sgt Nigel Coupe and Lance Cpl Stephen Burrows, who died on previous tours of duty to Afghanistan.

“We respect them as we celebrate and give thanks for the safe return of their comrades.”

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