Around 400 soldiers from 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland, also known as 2 SCOTS, paraded through Ayr on Friday, October 5, to mark their homecoming.
Many of the solders are local and people were out in force to welcome them home after a six month tour of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus taking part in operations to provide peace and stability in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.
The pipes and drums were accompanied by loud applause and cheering from an appreciative crowd as the troops were led through Ayr by Corporal Cruachan IV – the Regimental Shetland pony mascot, who was unruffled by the crowds as he led the way to the town hall ceremony.
In Iraq the soldiers were based in the Kurdistan region providing training to local security forces. Working just outside Baghdad, they 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 Gillespie 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 to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The banner will feature at Remembrance Day events.
Major General Euan Loudon also accepted a cheque for £34,000 on behalf of former Corporal Ronnie ‘Annie’ Oakley who died recently and left the money to the Royal Highland Fusilier 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 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 six months of 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.”