Scores of families turned out to show their support to soldiers at Kendrew Barracks who held a special parade today (Friday).
Servicemen from The 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment were out in force at the base in Cottesmore to mark the end of their training before deployment to Afghanistan.
The regiment is set to fly out to Afghanistan next month for Operation Herrick 19.
As part of the operation, the soldiers will be based in Helmand and will be working with the Afghan National Army.
Today’s parade was led by The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas in front of the families of servicemen who cheered and waved as it passed.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Johnson said: “Today has really been a parade to say thank you to the families, to show off our nine months of training and to say thank you to those who have supported us.
“There’s a bit of apprehension before we go out but they know they are ready for the job and I’m sure they’ll be successful.”
The parade also marked Talavera Day to remember the Battle of Talavera in Spain in 1809. The battle was fought on July 27 and 28, by the 48th of Foot which became the Northamptonshire Regiment and later the Royal Anglians.
During the parade, a salute was given to Col (Ret’d)l Peter Worthy, who wished his former regiment good luck for its upcoming tour.
Sgt Gavin Freeman, 36, from Leicester, is set to embark upon his second tour of Afghanistan, having served in Kabul in 2003.
He was cheered on by his wife Joanne, and their daughters Chloe-Louise, five, who attends Cottesmore Primary School, and Tamzin-Grace, four.
Sgt Freeman said: “It’s really uplifting to see the support we get.
“I like it when the girls get a chance to see what we do.
“It’s my second tour of Afghanistan and I think there’ll be a slightly different feel to the country this time.
“You always feel a bit unsure of the environment and apprehensive but the training we’ve done has prepared us for the task.
“It’s difficult leaving the girls but with modern technology and communication, it has got a lot easier.”
Pte Craig Nicholls, from Thrapston, Northampton-shire, was given support by his wife Jade and his eight-week old son, Reggie, as he took part in the march.
He said: “It’s going to be difficult being away from Reggie because I know he’ll be changing everyday.
“I feel ready and prepared for the tour though.”
Pte Zachary Ward, from Boston, said: “We’ve had good support here and it’s been a great atmosphere.”
The soldiers and their families were later treated to a barbecue and fun fair at the base after the parade.