Stirling welcomes home its brave boys


By Cara Sulieman
SOLDIERS paid tribute to a fallen hero as they were welcomed back with a homecoming march.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders paraded through the streets of Stirling and were greeted by crowds of hundreds.

As they marched down from Stirling Castle to shouts of support from well-wishers, there was an air of sadness surrounding the troop.

Their comrade Lance Corporal Jimmy Johnson, 31, was killed by a landmine in June during the battalion’s six-month tour of the Helmand province.

Only four days earlier, the brave soldier had been one of the battalion involved in a mission to rescue civilians – including young children.

And it was as he was on foot patrol with his mates that he was hit by an old Soviet landmine and killed.

The soldiers were too upset to comment on Lance Corporal Johnson’s death, but they did pay tribute to him during a prayer.

Speaking outside the municipal buildings, Padre Colin Macleod – the battalion’s chaplain – said: “We remember Lance Corporal Jimmy Johnson.”

And he praised every member of the battalion adding: “They are doing amazing things out there is Afghanistan in very difficult circumstances and need the support from everyone back home.”

After leaving Stirling Castle the battalion made their way down to the Municipal buildings to be greeted by the Provost.

Amongst the soldiers was Private Frank Baillie, 25, from Tullibody said he felt proud to be back having served his country.

He said: “My brother is also marching today and my dad was in the Argylls when he was younger.

“It makes you feel proud and very welcome when you march through the town. It’s important for the families as well to see that we are back in one piece.”

The battalion were also joined by members of the Territorial Army on their six-month tour of Afghanistan.

And Company Sergeant Major Scott West, 39, praised their contribution.

He said: “We had ten members of the TA with us and they were exemplary. All the boys that were out there were excellent boys.”

Lance Corporal Johnson was born in Scotland but grew up in Chatham, Kent.

He leaves behind his daughter Shannon and fiancée Bernadette Broadley – who he was due to marry next summer.