ROYAL ANGLIANS IN DISS: “Support of the town was outstanding”

Diss, Norfolk. The Royal Anglians Freedom of Diss Parade
Diss, Norfolk. The Royal Anglians Freedom of Diss Parade

The commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment has described the support of the town as “outstanding.”

Lieutenant Colonel Mick Aston led the drill in the Market Place as the soldiers lined up.

Speaking after the march, he said: “I knew Diss was going to be a big parade, it was a brilliant feeling walking into the market square to see so many people.

“It is highly humbling to see the effort people had gone to to cheer us on.

“It shows the strong connection that we have with the people of Diss and Norfolk - the same communities we draw our soldiers from and the same communities who offer support to us when we are deployed.

“That feeling will not be lost by The Vikings.”

Lt Col Aston, who has been in the army for 25 years, said their latest tour of Afghanistan was the most challenging thing he had done because they were working so closely with their Afghan counterparts.

The 1st Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. Since that time the regiment has lost 16 soldiers, one of whom was killed during its recent tour.

During the parade, The Rev Canon Tony Billett said a prayer for the soldiers.

“The people of Diss are immensely proud of you and your families,” he said. “The sacrifice you give is immense.”