The Millennium Stadium will host a very special day next Tuesday (11th December) when the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh are welcomed home after a six-month tour in Iraq.

The homecoming parade will start at Cardiff Castle at 10am and the parading soldiers, led by the Lucknow Band of the Prince of Wales Division and a Warrior armoured tracked vehicle, march off at 10.15am along St Mary Street and on to Gate 4 of the stadium.

The message of the parade will be ‘welcome home and a job well done’ and friends and family will watch the soldiers form up and receive their Iraq medals from dignitaries including Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt.

The Welsh Rugby Union, and the site of the Millennium Stadium, the old Cardiff Arms Park, have a long association with the military. The WRU staged a game at the Arms Park on 17th April 1915 to boost recruitment for the Welsh Guards and raised more than £200. By the Monday after the game more than 200 men had enlisted.

The Arms Park was also used for military parades and exercises during World War 1. Welsh rugby lost 16 international players during the two world wars and their names are engraved on a remembrance stone on the wall at the entrance to the Royal Box at the Millennium Stadium.

Someone who has experienced having a family member out in Basra is Wales International and Ospreys lock Ian Evans whose sister Lisa has recently returned home.

"I don’t think people realise what these people are doing out in Iraq, they are braver than anyone could imagine," said Evans. "People are putting their lives on the line to protect us and our freedom and I think it’s important for people to come along and show their support to the armed forces and the people still serving out there.

"It’s a torrid time for people out there but especially at this time of year, I really feel for them and I know everyone is praying for those still out there. It’s very edgy when you switch on the news and there has been an incident, I was always praying it wasn’t my sister.

"It’s totally different to what I do putting my body on the line in rugby, but the worst I could get would be a bash to the head, these guys have put their lives on the line and we need to realise that they are doing this for us."

The public wishing to attend should enter the stadium at Gate 2 for the parade and medal ceremony at 11am.