More than 200 soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment 1st Battalion returning from active duty in Afghanistan will proudly march through Harlow Town Centre on Thursday 22 October 2015 at 12.30pm it has been announced.
The Regiment was bestowed the Freedom of the Town by Harlow Council on 27 September 2012, which allows it to march through Harlow with bands playing, drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed.
The last soldiers from the 1st Battalion known as “The Vikings” returned home from Kabul on 19 August 2015 after the conclusion of their deployment on Operation Toral. After leave the soldiers will be celebrating their homecoming with three parades in the Battalion’s counties: St Neots on 20 October 2015, Norwich on 21 October 2015, and Harlow on 22 October 2015.
In Harlow about 250 troops will march from Post Office Road, through Broad Walk to the Civic Centre, where they will parade and be inspected.
Harlow Council is urging as many people as possible to show their pride in the troops and celebrate their homecoming by lining the route as they march through the Town Centre.
It will be first time the regiment has exercised its right to march in Harlow and it will be the second group of soldiers to march through the Town Centre after the Essex Yeomanry exercised its right in April 2009.
The day will also be a time for Harlow to remember its former resident Private Robert Foster. Robert was tragically killed in Afghanistan in August 2007 whilst serving with the 1st Battalion.
Councillor Tony Hall, Chair of Harlow Council, said:
“On 22 October 2015 history will be made with the Royal Anglian Regiment exercising its freedom to march through Harlow for the very first time. This will be an important occasion for Harlow and at a time when the soldiers have just returned home from active service. I hope as many people as possible line the route to thank and cheer our troops for their bravery and service and welcome them home, but also to remember Robert Foster and those troops who are no longer with us.”
Further information on the parade route will appear on the Council’s website www.harlow.gov.uk/freedom-parade and in the local press nearer the time.