OUR HEROES; Ticker-Tape Parade for 1,000 Troops

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THEY came in their tens of thousands to honour Britain's heroic young servicemen and women.

The ancient Welsh city had never seen the likes of it - a ticker-tape parade that brought a touch of New York glitz to the pomp and ceremony.

And as the bright Cardiff sunshine glistened on the rows of medals and the bright brass of the military bands the 80,000 spectators paid tribute to 1,000 soldiers on parade to mark the second Armed Forces Day.

Yesterday's commemoration came at the end of the British Army's bloodiest week in Afghanistan, with nine killed in the past seven days. A total of 307 troops have lost their life since the war began in 2001. The terrible toll includes the death of 18 UK soldiers and Royal Marines in the past month alone. The Queen led the tributes to the combined services, including the 10,000 troops currently serving in Afghanistan.

"The men and women of our Armed Forces have always been admirable examples of professionalism and courage," she told them in a special message. "They perform their duties in the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances."

And circumstances don't come any more dangerous than those endured by Lance Corporal Christopher Allen, of 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh, who was marching with his comrades.

During his six-months in Helmand Province, 24-year-ld Chris had painstakingly picked his way through Afghanistan's minefields, eventually detecting and immobilising 32 roadside bombs. …