Today Britain's largest infantry regiment The Rifles marched through Winchester Town Centre exercising the right of Freedom of Entry.
The right of Freedom of Entry is an ancient privilege and allows a Regiment to parade through the City with ‘Full Ceremonial’. It comes from a period in our history when only trusted units would be allowed to carry arms within city boundaries. The City Council bestowed Freedom of Entry in 1946 to the King’s Royal Rifles Corps and The Rifle Brigade and later transferred it to The Royal Green Jackets, following the amalgamation of these two Regiments with the 43rd and 52nd Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
The Freedom Parade celebrates The Rifles 10th Anniversary and was organised to coincide with The Royal Green Jacket’s Annual Veteran’s Day.
The 200-strong parade led by the Band and Bugles of The Rifles marched from Peninsula Barracks, down the High Street and turned right into Winchester Cathedral where they paused for the Turning of the Pages Ceremony.
The parade came to a halt outside the Guildhall and was inspected by the Regiments Colonel Commandant General Nick Carter and the Mayor of Winchester Councillor David McLean. The Mayor presented The Rifles with the Freedom scroll and in return was gifted the time-honoured tradition of a Silver Bugle.
The parade was met by the sound of rapturous applause cementing the relationship with the city which has stretched back over the last 148 years.