Homecoming for 650 UK soldiers from Afghanistan

Homecoming for 650 UK soldiers from Afghanistan London: More than 600 British soldiers returning from Afghanistan marched through the southern English town of Winchester today in the largest ever homecoming parade staged in Britain.

Crowds of supporters lining the medieval streets applauded and cheered as the troops from 11 Light Brigade and three marching bands passed through the town, a historical home to the Royals.

The brigade lost 64 soldiers during its six-month deployment to Afghanistan, and a thanksgiving service will be held later in the 900-year-old Winchester Cathedral to remember those who died.

The brigade wil be disbanded after inspection by Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles.

Britain has about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, the largest international force after the United States. The country has lost more than 300 military personnel or defence staff in Afghanistan since operations there began in 2001.

Today, the Ministry of Defence said a marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines serving in the Sangin District of the southern Helmand Province was killed during a gun battle with insurgents.

The soldier, who was not identified, was the 303th British fatality in Afghanistan. The ministry said his family was informed.