A special parade to mark the arrival of soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment has been held in Cyprus.

2 Mercian will take over the role of Regional Standby Battalion, replacing 1 LANCS who return to Chester after two years in Cyprus.

450 soldiers and 150 family members made the move to the Mediterranean from their base in Chester, and will stay in Cyprus for the next two years.

Lt Col Mark Davis, Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment said: "We’ve got to remember this is a tour in the sunshine, not a sunshine tour.

"There is an operational focus to this island, we have a large amount of our soldiers at extremely high readiness.

"They’ve got to be able to deploy straight down to the airhead at RAF Akrotiri, and within 24 hours, to go anywhere within the region."

2 Mercian will send a company of troops to Afghanistan in the coming weeks.