Patriotic crowds lined the streets of Hounslow yesterday to wave our troops off to Afghanistan.

More than 300 soldiers from the Second Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who have been based at Hounslow Barracks since March last year, paraded along the High Street and up to Lampton Park.

They are flying out to Musa Qal ah, in the notorious Helmand province, next month to take on the Taliban.

Proud families unfurled banners of support, veterans waved flags and shoppers took a break from their bargain hunting to applaud the soldiers, who were fronted by a marching band.

Irene Watson, 40, and her 20-year-old daughter Jill were there to cheer on new recruits Greg Watson and his friend Jamie, both 18.

They were joined by dad Graham, 47, of Hayes, himself a former member of the Third Fusiliers.