Gosport residents urged to give returning troops a big welcome home

Soldiers from 33 Field Hospital parade in Gosport in 2010.
Soldiers from 33 Field Hospital parade in Gosport in 2010.

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MEDICS who have spent the past six months saving lives in Afghanistan will be welcomed home this week.

Gosport-based 33 Field Hospital will return to the town to collect their medals and mark their safe journey home.

The medics will receive their medals for Operation Herrick – the code name given to the UK’s effort in Afghanistan.

Afterwards, they will march through Gosport, led by the Royal Marines Band.

Councillor John Beavis is the mayor of Gosport.

He said: ‘I sincerely hope the weather will be kind to us and the sun will shine as we gather to give thanks for the safe return of the extremely brave men and women of 33 Field Hospital.

‘We hope the people of Gosport will do us proud by coming along to show their support and thank them for all the work they have done, not only providing care for the servicemen and women based in Afghanistan, but also to the local community.’

There are 200 soldiers who have recently returned from serving on the six-month tour.

They will be presented with their Operational Service Medal with Afghanistan Clasp.

Last month, The News went to Afghanistan to meet the soldiers of 33 Field Hospital and see how they are working to keep the medical centre there at the front of world standards.

The medals will be presented to troops in front of the former Royal Hospital Haslar at 9.20am on Wednesday.

They will begin their march to the Timespace area at 10.45am.

A service of Thanksgiving will then take place at 11am.

The service will be conducted by the mayor’s chaplain and 33 Field Hospital’s chaplain.

At 11.45am, 33 Field Hospital sets off from Timespace for their welcome home parade to the Town Hall.

In order for the procession to go ahead, road closures will operate from 10am to 11am between the former Royal Hospital Haslar, and Trinity Green.

· To read The News’ special reports from Afghanistan on the work of 33 Field Hospital, click here.