HUNDREDS of people lined the city’s streets to cheer on troops from the Second Battalion of the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment as they exercised their freedom of the city on Wednesday.
The soldiers, who are based at Woolwich Barracks, were welcomed to Chichester by mayor Alan Chaplin and lord lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome the royal regiment today on occasion of exercising the freedom of the city of Chichester,” said Mr Chaplin to the crowds.
“West Sussex is one of the regiment’s recruiting areas so it seems more appropriate to say welcome home.
“It was a busy year for the second battalion as part of the contingency force for the Olympic games.
“The last year also saw deployment to Afghanistan and the Falklands.
“There is never a dull moment. Thank you for the jobs you do, often in very difficult conditions, and set against a reduction in funding.
“We are proud of you and proud of all of you who serve now and in the future.”
The mayor also spoke of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, who was also based at the Woolwich barracks.
The marching band played the National Anthem, and even serenaded the crowds with a rendition of Skyfall.
Brigadier Richard Dennis OBE, colonel of the regiment, said it was a ‘great honour’ to be in the city today with ‘bayonets fixed’.
“We are extremely proud to parade through the city. Thank you for letting us demonstrate that pride today.”
The procession went through the city and into Newgate Park.
Eva and Donald Maltby from Aldwick joined the crowds to watch the procession.
“We are both octogenarians, so we have seen our fair share of parades in our time,” said Mr Maltby.
“But it is lovely to watch, we always enjoy supporting the troops, and on such a lovely sunny day.”
Private Jamie Brown was raising money for Help for Heroes.
“The freedom of the city is important because it gives the city and the people an insight in to what the soldiers are doing,” he said.
Regimental ambassador Lynn Smith-White has volunteered for the regiment for five years.
“I know it means a lot to them to have people welcome them on the streets,” she said.
In 1993, PWRR became successor in title to the Queen’s Regiment which, in turn, preceded the Royal Sussex Regiment in the reorganisation of the British Army.