ALMOST 400 Yorkshire soldiers from Catterick Garrison marched through the rain to Richmond Castle to receive a blessing before deploying to Afghanistan.

The soldiers from the 2 Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, based at Somme Barracks, marched the four miles to the castle to take part in a drumhead service conducted by their padre Captain Jonathan Wylie which concluded with a blessing for the departing troops.

The soldiers are about to depart on a split operational tour with each deployment covering four months which will take them right through to the spring of next year.

Their commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sam Humphris, told the soldiers more than 1,500 people had been killed in the capital Kabul this year and one of their main tasks was to help provide the security to reduce those numbers.

He said he knew everyone was very well prepared for the deployment having conducted numerous exercises in preparation and expected the regiment to conduct a very successful tour.

“You should be very proud to represent your county as well as your country,” he added.

Brigadier Oli Stokes, commander of 4 Infantry Brigade of which the regiment is apart, said he followed their preparations for the tour over the last few months with interest and they would take the deployment in their stride.