British troops march in red square parade

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The Independent Online

British soldiers marched on Red Square in Moscow for the first time today to mark the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Seventy-six soldiers from 2 Company 1st Battalion Welsh Guards were representing the UK at the invitation of the Russian Government.

They marched alongside more than 10,500 Russian troops and others from the US and France.

The event - thought to be costing £26 million - also featured a 1,000-strong military band, 161 tanks and missiles and 127 aircraft.

The hour-long parade saw six types of defence equipment on show in a display of military prowess set to dominate the city's sky and roads.

Guardsman Ian Mundy said: "There is a sense of pride to be in this massive parade on Red Square.

"It seems that everyone is interested in us as well and I'm proud to be a part of that."

Lance Corporal John Sanigar added: "It's a brilliant place to be at the moment for the Army and the Welsh Guards."

The Welsh Guards are staying at the Moscow Military Academy as guests of the Russian Army.

They were given a guided tour of the Kremlin, invited to concerts and took part in a cultural tour of the city via a boat trip up the Moscow River.

The Welsh Guards served in Afghanistan six months ago and lost its commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, during the tour.

Lt Col Thorneloe - the most senior British army officer to die in action since the Falklands conflict - was killed alongside Trooper Joshua Hammond by a roadside improvised explosive device.

"It was an emotional tour," said Guardsman Thomas James, whose grandfathers both served in the Second World War.

"This is the first time I've been on official parade in my tunic since we've been back. It's an honour to be here."

Commanding Officer of the Welsh Guards, Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Antelme, said the parade was a "surreal" experience.

"(It is) a historic moment for the Welsh Guards and the British Army, and, of course, for the Russian people," he added.

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