Soldiers form up at Wellington Barracks before marching into Parliament to be thanked for service in not one theatre of operations, but in 55 countries.
The last time troops, that have provided a vital service to the nation, paraded in Westminster to be formally thanked by those who sent them to do their duties, was in 2015 when servicemen and women were feted by MPs for their work to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Now the Army has been invited by James Gray MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces, to a “welcome home” reception in the Palace of Westminster, which heralds their selfless participation in a much wider field of operations, overseas commitments, and homeland resilience tasks; highlighting the unprecedented breadth and global spread of the British Army’s current activities.
It will involve a contingent of 120 Army personnel – a distillation of the 51,726 soldiers who deployed last year to more than 55 countries on operations, defence engagement and training, and the 25,000 troops that are held in readiness to deploy at any moment. They will be led to Parliament down Birdcage Walk by the world-famous Band of the Grenadier Guards in full ceremonial dress. On arrival, the troops will be met by MPs and hosted at a reception on the Palace of Westminster terrace.
Each soldier participating in the march has recently completed operational duties: from Mongolia to Estonia; anti-poaching in Africa; UN and NATO commitments; in counter terrorism or assisting the emergency services with preventing the spread of moorland fires in Manchester. British soldiers are constantly employed at home and across the globe in a dazzling array of roles. Today alone, there are 3,000 troops deployed on operations and a further 2,000 overseas training for operations.
| British Armed Forces News
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Photographer: Owen Cooban