PEOPLE in Yorkshire should hold up their heads with pride about the respect they have for troops in Afghanistan.
That was the message from a top Army commander, speaking for the first time about the Afghan bomb blast that claimed the lives of six young soldiers five of them from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
Brigadier Greville Bibby said he was moved by the response in Huddersfield and the rest of the region after the six soldiers were killed on March 6.
Brigadier Bibby says the people of Yorkshire can be proud for how they have responded to the tragedy.
The thing about the Yorkshire Regiment is they are a fiercely proud local regiment, therefore the impact is always going to be much greater, said the Brigadier, who received a CBE for his services to Afghanistan in 2009 and now commands the Army in Yorkshire and the North East.
Losing one soldier always has an impact on a community, but when you suddenly lose five from a county that is so proud and in many ways quite unified in that pride, the impact is much greater.
I have worked in every part of the UK and the patriotism and the sense of pride in Yorkshire is reflected in very few places I have been to.
Brigadier Bibby said the deaths of five soldiers aged between 19 and 21 from 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment (3 Yorks) and one from the Duke of Lancasters Regiment in the deadliest single attack on British forces in Afghanistan since 2001, were deeply shocking and brought back painful memories of his own time serving on the front line in Helmand.
The casualties were Huddersfield soldiers Private Anton Frampton, 20, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, along with comrades Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and 33-year-old Sergeant Nigel Coupe.
All were killed just a few weeks after arriving in the country when their Warrior armoured vehicle was blown up by a massive improvised explosive device.
The funerals for the three Huddersfield heroes were held in the town two weeks ago.
Brigadier Bibby said: Things of that enormity have happened while I have been serving, but nothing I have been intimately related to or within my responsibility.
The enormity of it is deeply shocking, you then think about how did that happen, or if they suffered. All these other things come to mind it is horrible.
What it does to any soldier who has been to Afghanistan, is bring back all those memories and the shock and the horror of losing friends. Every time it happens you get choked up.
I know because I have been there. That means every time a soldier goes out in a vehicle or goes out on patrol there will be that nagging doubt in their minds that it could be them.
But the soldiers out there have done incredibly and are very resilient. They have literally picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and moved on that is what they do.
The Brigadier has also praised the strength of the bereaved families and said at a funeral earlier this month at Huddersfield Parish Church for Pte Frampton, his mother Margaret Charlesworth read out a letter he had written in case he died and urged the watching soldiers to do the same.
She put a finger in my chest and said: Did you write a letter when you went to Afghanistan? I said: I didnt, I just couldnt bring myself to. Every time I tried to I started crying. The idea of writing a letter to my children to say Im dead, I couldnt do it.
Well, she said: you jolly well should have done. It was emotional and very moving.
The support and genuine outpouring of grief must be of great comfort to the family that their sons death has not gone unnoticed.
I think outside of the political debate, knowing the nation supports you is a really important aspect for the soldier.
If you thought you came home and nobody would come to your funeral that is a very difficult place to be.