THE mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan was presented with a medal yesterday alongside his colleagues.
Troops from 104 Military Working Dog Squadron, based at St George’s Barracks in North Luffenham, who were presented with their service medals yesterday following their six month tour in Afghanistan.
The soldiers remembered their colleague and friend L/Cpl Liam Tasker, who was killed while on foot patrol near Camp Bastion on March 1. His Springer Spaniel cross Theo died of a seizure the same day.
Prior to the parade, there was a private service at Edith Weston Church in memory of L/Cpl Tasker.
The 45 troops and four RAF police dog handlers, who arrived back on British soil last Tuesday, marched out shortly after 11.30am. They were led by the band of the parachute regiment, onto a bright parade square. They were flanked by four Springer Spaniels on each corner, who walked to heel.
Crowds of family and friends gathered at the edge of the square in Army green marquees.
L/Cpl Tasker’s family, including his mother Jane Duffy, were among the crowds.
The head of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps Col Neil Smith was led along the three rows, shaking the soldiers’ hands and clipping the medals to their jackets.
He was then led to L/Cpl Tasker’s family, where Col Smith pinned the medal to Mrs Duffy’s jacket. The rest of the family hugged and there were tears from the watching crowds.
At the podium Col Smith praised the troops for an “arduous but successful tour”.
He said: “Every one of you should be so proud today, knowing you really delivered.
“It is a day with great sadness. L/Cpl Liam Tasker was a real star, and together with Theo, exemplified the capabilities of this squadron.”