Cheer home – and show your respect for – the 1,100 Royal Marines and soldiers in Plymouth on Friday as the men of 3 Commando Brigade hold a homecoming and Armistice Day parade.
Green berets from 42 Commando based at Bickleigh just outside Plymouth, 30 Commando IX Group and Brigade Headquarters based at RM Stonehouse in the city, gunners from the marines’ associated Army regiment, 29 Commando Royal Artillery from the Citadel, and the sappers of 24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers in Chivenor are all taking part – just a few days after returning from a six-month tour of duty in Helmand.
The high-profile event is a mixture of celebration of the brigade’s achievements during its time on Operation Herrick 14 in Helmand province – and solemn remembrance; a roll of honour will be read out in memory of the men lost between March and October when the Royal Marines led Britain’s mission in Afghanistan.
Proceedings begin on the Hoe at 10am with a medals ceremony for 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group – a specialist unit recently formed to gather intelligence, analyse it and then use it to brigade’s advantage; it comprises not just Royal Marines Commandos, but also personnel from the RN, Army and RAF.
With the medals presented, the full parade will form up at 10.30am followed by an Armistice Day service, where the roll of honour will be read out, and after the traditional two minutes’ silence at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, the 1,100 personnel will begin their march through Plymouth, heading down Hoe Promenade to the city centre, along Royal Parade where the salute will be taken, ending at the Citadel about 12.30pm.
“The timing of the homecoming parade could not be more poignant,”
said Lt Col Tim Purbrick, Brigade spokesman.
“As we march through our home city of Plymouth on Armistice Day those who made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Herrick 14 – as well as those who have fallen in previous conflicts – will be at the forefront of our thoughts.
“The parade will also be our opportunity for the Royal Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Brigade to thank the people of Plymouth – and our families – for the tremendous support they have given to us over the last six months.”
His Commanding Officer, Brigadier Ed Davis, said 3 Cdo had built upon the hard work and sacrifices made on previous tours of duty in Helmand and that efforts in the province were very much on track.
“It was humbling to see the sacrifice and professionalism of our people.
"Their humanity and their desire to reach out to the people of Helmand and their insatiable desire to make a difference has been inspiring.”
After the parade, the troops will disperse to host their families at their respective units before resuming their well-deserved leave.