Video/gallery: RAF Honington 15 Squadron parades through the streets of Bury St Edmunds as withdrawal from Afghanistan is marked

RAF Honington's No 15 Squadron RAF Regiment Op HERRICK Homecoming Parade and medal Presentation in B

RAF Honington's No 15 Squadron RAF Regiment Op HERRICK Homecoming Parade and medal Presentation in Bury. - Credit: Archant

The “proud” homecoming of a Suffolk RAF regiment saw service men and women parade through the streets of Bury St Edmunds this morning, marking their return from Afghanistan.

With a crowd of people watching on, 15 Squadron from RAF Honington marched from the Abbey Gate up to Charter Square, in the Arc, where they received medals marking their operational service.

After receiving their medals from Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the squadron marched to St Edmundsbury Cathedral where a service commemorating the end of operations in Afghan was held.

For Squadron Leader Dale White, it was both a “sombre” and “proud” day, as a candle procession also remembered the eight RAF Regiment members who died in Afghanistan since 2002.

The 36-year-old, who lives in Bury, said; “It gives us a huge sense of pride to parade through Bury. To see the people on the streets supporting us, it very much felt like a homecoming.

“It shows we have the support of the country and the local people. It is a very proud day for both me and my gunners.

“With the procession, it is to remember those who did not come back and could not have a homecoming. It was sombre and respectful.”

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The squadron’s role in Afghanistan saw it provide security for Camp Bastion in both mounted and unmounted patrols, with the last of the squadron returning in November 2014.

15 Squadron’s Chris Kay, 27, from Dereham, said it was a proud moment, but even more so for those in his squadron who had seen three or four tours in the Afghan Conflict.

“I only served on the last tour, I came back in October. It was very quiet, but many have served three or four tours, they deserve the recognition,” he said.

“It was also about remembering those who did not it make it back and those injured. My friend from Dereham lost his leg. It was in Afghan, they hit an IED (improvised explosive device).”