More than 100 soldiers from one of the UKs hardest hit battle groups in Afghanistan will parade through Croydon this week.

On Thursday at 12.45pm the ‘Swift and the Bold’ from the 2 Rifles will march from the Mitcham Road Territorial Army barracks through to Fairfield Halls where they will have a reception for the servicemen’s families.

Along the way they will meet the Band and Bugles of The Rifles who will play for the borough in North End.

They will then follow North End to Katharine Street where they will be inspected by Mayor Margaret Mead and the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London at 1.30pm.

The regiment’s six month operational tour in Afghanistan was marred by losses that shocked not only Croydon but the entire country.

The parade will pay tribute to Rifleman Danny Simpson from Shirley who was one of 13 men of 2 Rifles killed in action in Afghanistan.

The rifles deployed to Afghanistan in April and have been engaged in close quarter combat with the Taliban in Helmand Valley, where they have seen some of the fiercest fighting the British Army has experienced since World War II.

Commanding officer of the 2 Rifles battle group, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Thomson, said: “When we were told in 2008 that we would become the battle group responsible for the town of Sangin and the Upper Sangin Valley, we were only too well aware of the challenges that lay ahead.

“We have a saying in the battle group that one is only as good as the next operation so, as we grabbed our rifles, body armour and packs, we knew we would be called upon to strain every sinew over six hard months. We were not wrong”

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