Hundreds line streets to celebrate Fusiliers homecoming in Balham

Wandsworth Guardian: The Fusiliers in Balham High Road The Fusiliers in Balham High Road

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Balham to celebrate the homecoming of soldiers who served in Afghanistan.

About 170 officers and men from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers marched through Balham to the Fusilier House army reserve centre.

The Fusiliers, who wear a distinctive red and white hackle in their beret, have historic ties with Balham and recruit from the area.

Balham High Road was filled with bystanders, including proud families, who came to salute the soldiers who returned in September.

The soldiers, accompanied by a live band, set off from Balham Leisure Centre, Elmfield Road, at 1pm and passed along Bedford Hill and Balham High Road.

They were cheered and saluted as they made their way into Fusilier House in Balham High Road.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Fusilier Jonathan Swift, of Croydon, said a quarter of the soldiers participating were recruited in Balham.

He said: "We have had huge support from the London population.Schools have been allowed to graciously support us, businesses stopped and said thank you as we marched up the streets.

"Many people say thank you as we go past, that makes a lot of what we do worthwhile."

Fusilier Ashley Newlyn, 22, of Croydon, said: "It was a pretty good turn out.

"As a local London boy it's nice to be doing it at a place in London it's nice to recognise some faces."

Julie Brett, of Waltham Abbey, Essex, whose son Fusilier Carter Brett was marching, said: "We can't be prouder of him, all of the family have come down."

The Fusiliers were created in 1968 as a result of the merger of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Fusiliers.

 

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