Belfast Telegraph

Duke honours Afghanistan troops

The Duke of York and thousands of well-wishers have braved stormy weather to honour troops who served in Afghanistan and remember those who did not make it home.

In his role as Colonel-in-Chief of 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (1 R Irish), the Duke presented soldiers who took part in Operation Herrick 13 in Afghanistan with a campaign medal at the parade.

He also gave the posthumous Elizabeth Cross award medals to the families of Lance Corporal Stephen McKee, Ranger David Dalzell and Ranger Aaron McCormick, who were all killed in action.

Ranger McCormick, 22, from Coleraine in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was killed in Helmand on November 14 last year. He had been helping to clear an area of improvised explosive devices during a security patrol in Nad 'Ali when he was killed in an explosion.

L/Cpl McKee, 27, from Banbridge in County Down, Northern Ireland died on March 9 when, during an operation to disrupt insurgent activity in the northern Dashte area of Nad 'Ali district, his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

Ranger Dalzell, 20, from Bangor in County Down, Northern Ireland, was killed on February 4 2011 as a result of an operational accident while working at Checkpoint Ranger in Nad 'Ali.

Around 1,200 people watched as more than 400 soldiers marched on to the parade square at Clive Barracks in Ternhill, Shropshire, before watching the medals presentations and listening to a speech by the Duke.

Captain Jeff Herbert, spokesman for 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, who was watching the parade, said the day was to draw a line under Op Herrick, but also to mark the Battle of Waterloo, which happened on June 18, 1815.

The Battalion, which was welcomed by thousands of well-wishers in homecoming parades in Market Drayton and Shrewsbury in April, took part in the parade to honour those killed at Waterloo, he said.

Due to its deployment, 1 R Irish has missed celebrating two traditional Regimental days; Barossa and St Patrick's Day, and took part to celebrate the often overlooked Battle Honour, Waterloo.

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