The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will march through Warwick on the 70th anniversary that one of its forerunners played a gallant role in the D-Day landings.
As we revealed in March, the battalion has been granted the Freedom of Warwickshire and will take part in a Freedom Parade on June 6 – just weeks before it is merged with the 1st Battalion in August.
The 2nd Battalion’s links with Warwickshire stretch back hundreds of years and its illustrious lineage includes the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, Field Marshall Montgomery and Field Marshall Slim.
Despite petitions, representations to Parliament and a march through London, the battalion fell victim to defence cuts amid claims by ex-soldiers it was being sacrificed to save under-manned Scottish regiments in the run-up to Scotland’s independence referendum.
Serving officer Major John Turquand, who saw active service with the 1st Battalion, and is also regimental area secretary of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, said it will be an “emotional, but happy” day.
He added: “It will be tinged with emotion but we are celebrating that the Fusiliers have been around for so long and will continue to recruit in Warwickshire.
“This is not the end – we are the county infantry regiment of Warwickshire and the West Midlands.”
The parade will involve 150 troops, including a colour party, corps of drums and the band of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, and Field Marshall The Duke of Kent will be in attendance in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.
County councillors agreed unanimously to award the freedom of the county to the regiment. The parade will begin at 11.30am on Northgate Street and the regiment will march onto Market Place for an inspection.
The parade will then continue back down Church Street to High Street, Swan Street, Market Place and will end back on Northgate Street.
Lt Colonel Jim Taylor, MBE, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, said: “It is a great privilege for me to lead my soldiers on this auspicious occasion.
“We trace our lineage back to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who performed magnificently in the D-Day landings. ”
Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major) Dale Jackson, the senior soldier in the 2nd Battalion and a county man, said: “Warwickshire is in the DNA of the Second Fusiliers. There are many lads from the county in the battalion and we are all very proud of our county ties.”
Fusilier Luke Feasey, of Warwick, said: “Having lived in Warwick my entire life, I am really looking forward to being able to march through my home town as a member of the Second Fusiliers.
“It means a lot that my regiment is being honoured by my county. I am also looking forward to continuing my career with the First Fusiliers.”