Army chief says thanks to Norfolk

The head of the British Army has given a heartfelt thank you to the people of East Anglia for supporting soldiers who have risked their lives in the Middle East.

The head of the British Army has given a heartfelt thank you to the people of East Anglia for supporting soldiers who have risked their lives in the Middle East.

General Sir Richard Dannatt's message came after thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to welcome home the Royal Anglians in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds and the Light Dragoons in Dereham this week.

The chief of the general staff, who has expressed concern about a the lack of understanding among the general public, said the success of the parades and overwhelming response to the £100,000 appeal for a permanent memorial to those who lost their lives gave servicemen and women a “huge boost”.

“I mentioned recently that I was concerned about the apparent gulf between the Army and the Nation,” he said. “I was touched by the responses I received which clearly indicated that there were many people who do care but some found it difficult to find the best way to express that support.

“Homecoming parades are one way to do that and they do represent a great opportunity for communities to give their soldiers the welcome that they deserve on their return from operations.

“In East Anglia, you have shown that you really understand and appreciate the sacrifices that our soldiers make - and the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in particular.

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“Across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, you have written letters of support, generously donated to the Royal Anglians' Memorial Fund and to other Service charities.

“And you have turned out in your thousands to welcome home the Light Dragoons in Dereham and the Royal Anglians in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds.

“I would therefore like to take the opportunity to thank you for the support that you have given, either individually or through various companies and organisations. You can take justifiable pride in the tremendous job that all our servicemen and women do for our country.

“They value your support and it gives them a huge boost to see that so many people appreciate what they do.

“As chief of the general staff and on behalf of the army, thank you all for what you have done and please keep up the good work!”

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