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Don’t miss the Freedom March parade this Sunday!

More than 200 troops are set to march through Andover this Sunday to celebrate their Freedom of the Borough.

More than 200 troops are set to march through Andover this Sunday to celebrate their Freedom of the Borough.

Service personnel from the 22 Engineer Regiment, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Army Air Corps will march through the town in a spectacular display of ceremony and tradition, led by the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regimental Band.

The march will begin at approximately 12.45pm at Town Mills Car Park before travelling through the town towards Eastern Avenue, where the troops will salute the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire and the Mayor of Test Valley. The march will then proceed to St Mary’s Church for a commemoration service at approximately 1.30pm, to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. A flypast by the Army Air Corps will take place at the start of the memorial service.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Ian Carr, said: “This is the first time we have been able to get all three regiments together to celebrate their freedom, so it is a parade not to be missed. Our troops and their families sacrifice so much for our country and so I really hope that our local communities come out to show their support for our military men and women.”

The Freedom of the Borough is the highest award that the Council can bestow. Those granted the freedom are able to march through the streets “with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and bands playing”.

Advanced closure signs are in place on the affected roads.

Information about each of the regiments:
The Corps of Royal Engineers – awarded Freedom on the 28 April 1982

The Corps of Royal Engineers (CRE) traces its origins back to the military engineers brought to England by William the Conqueror. To this day, they offer military engineering and technical support to the British Armed Forces. During battle, the “Sappers” enable troops to move, live and fight, by building temporary accommodation, runways and bridges, and clearing routes through minefields. During post-conflict reconstruction, the CRE takes on many roles. The Corps is made up of 15 regiments and is represented locally by 22 Engineer Regiment, based at Swinton Barracks near Tidworth in Wiltshire.

The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – awarded Freedom on the 25 June 1986

In 1992, The Royal Hampshire Regiment merged with the Queen’s Regiment to become The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR), which inherited the Freedom of the Borough granted to The Royal Hampshire Regiment.

Nicknamed the Tigers, the PWRR is the English senior line infantry regiment of the British Army. The regiment has been involved in every major conflict since the Second World War, and is the most decorated in the British Army, having been awarded 57 Victoria Crosses for acts of valour and gallantry.

Army Air Corps – awarded Freedom on the 25 September 1987

On formation in 1942, the Army Air Corps (AAC) comprised of three units: Glider Pilot Regiment (GPR); Parachute Battalions and the Air Observation Post Squadrons (AOP). In 1944, the SAS was also added to the Corps. The AAC was broken up in 1949, with the SAS returning to independent status, while the remainder continued as the GPR and Parachute Corps.
In 1957, the Glider Pilot and Parachute Corps was renamed as The Parachute Regiment, while the GPR and the AOP amalgamated into a new unit, the AAC.

The AAC provides offensive action, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) as well as control and direction of firepower, as well as a variety of other functions.