Soldiers salute at Wallace Tower in Ayr
Around 400 soldiers from 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland also known as 2 SCOTS took to the streets of Ayr today (Friday 5 October) for a parade to mark their homecoming.
Many of the solders are local, so people were out in force to welcome them home after a six month tour of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus.
The pipes and drums were accompanied by loud applause and cheering from an appreciative public as the troops marched through the heart of Ayr led by Corporal Cruachan IV – the Regimental Mascot. The Shetland pony was unruffled by the crowds as he led the way to the town hall for a special ceremony.
It's been a long but rewarding six months for 2 SCOTS as they took part in operations to provide peace and stability in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.
In Iraq the soldiers were based in the Kurdistan region providing training to local security forces. Working just outside Baghdad, soldiers from the battalion also linked up with an Australian and Spanish led-Coalition to help stabilise the region.
Overseas tours ensure the soldiers from 2 SCOTS gain valuable experience and at the Town Hall, Lieutenant Toomey, Corporal Morrison, Fusilier Brady, Fusilier Aitken and Fusilier McGuffie all received Operational Service Medals for their distinguished service in Iraq.
The soldiers also took the opportunity to add hundreds of crochet and knitted poppies to a remembrance banner in the town hall. The poppies have been made by members of the public to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and the banner will feature at Remembrance Day events.
Major General Euan Loudon CBE also accepted a cheque for £34,000 on behalf of former soldier Corporal Ronnie 'Annie' Oakley who unfortunately passed away recently. It was Annie's wish that the money be left to the Royal Highland Fusilier (RHF) Museum in Glasgow.
Helen Moonie, South Ayrshire Provost said: "I would like to thank the people of South Ayrshire for welcoming the soldiers' home. I know how much it means to those that took part in the parade to see and hear people young and old cheering them on, it's something that will stay with the men and women of 2 SCOTS for many years to come.
"It was a particularly poignant moment to see serving soldiers attach crochet and knitted poppies to the First World War memorial banner in the town hall and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed so far."
Lieutenant Colonel D C Close, Commanding Officer 2 SCOTS said: "After 6 months of performing operations 2 SCOTS are back to say thank you to our communities, to our recruiting areas, to our families and friends who have supported us throughout the last year.
"It is a joy to be in amongst our Scottish community who play a major role in supporting us and have done for many years."