IN PICTURES: Royal welcome for homecoming troops

Lisburn-based soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Rifles (2 Rifles) were welcomed home from a tour of duty in Iraq with a rousing band performance and a Royal visitor.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 2:51 pm
Updated Friday, 9th March 2018, 3:19 pm
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 9th March 2018 There was synchronised sound in Lisburn city centre today where a Homecoming Parade of the 2 Rifles took place. The Parade followed a six-month tour of Iraq. There was an Inspection and Salute in the city centre in the presence of the HRH the Earl of Wessex, Royal Colonel of the 2 Rifles. The Council was delighted with the Royal Visit, which is the first royal visit to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council. General view of the parade in Bow Street, Lisburn. Photo by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye.

HRH The Earl of Wessex, Royal Colonel of the regiment, was in the city to take the salute as 200 troops paraded in Market Square.

The band of 2 Rifles gave a 40-minute performance, much to the delight of the large crowd of onlookers.

Ahead of the parade and inspection, Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, Councillor Tim Morrow, hosted a homecoming breakfast reception for the troops and invited guests at Lagan Valley Island. The regiment’s deployment in Iraq provided training for the Iraqi army and security forces.

Prince Edward was accompanied during the inspection by the Lord Lieutenant Mrs Joan Christie CVO OBE.

Commanding officer Lt Col Neil Belamy said it was a “great honour” for the regiment.

“The unit has recently returned from Operation ‘SHADER’ in Iraq and this weekend is the perfect opportunity to come together and celebrate being a unit with our local community,” he said.

“Lisburn has been our home for a few years and we have been made to feel very welcomed. We have forged great relationships and the high point of this for me will be Friday when we get to parade through our home town in front of all of our friends.”

Former DUP MLA Brenda Hale, whose Mark was killed in Afghanistan while serving with 2 Rifles, was among the guests.