County Councillors agreed unanimously to award the freedom of the county to the Regiment and this enables them to march with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed.  

The parade involved 150 troops, including a colour party, Corps of Drums and band.

The Duke of Kent, inset, was also in attendance in his role as colonel-in-chief of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

The parade began at 11.30am in Northgate Street and the regiment marched into Market Place for an inspection. The parade then continued back down Church Street, into High Street, Swan Street, Market Place to end back on Northgate Street.

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor MBE, Commanding Officer of the Second Battalion, said:  “We are honoured to receive the Freedom of the County of Warwickshire.  It is a great privilege for me to lead my soldiers on this auspicious occasion.

Lt-Col Jim Taylor MBE

Lt-Col Jim Taylor MBE

“The Second Fusiliers has a long affiliation with Warwickshire. We trace our lineage directly back to the Second Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment who performed magnificently in the D-Day landings.

“It is therefore fitting that the parade falls on the 70th anniversary of this momentous achievement.”

Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major) Dale Jackson is the senior soldier in the Second Fusiliers, and is also a Warwickshire man himself.

He 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’s ties with our regiment.  It’s a great privilege to parade my soldiers in this way”

Fusilier Luke Feasey, from Warwick, has served for three and a half years with the Regiment, having joined the Second Battalion in Germany.

Fusilier Feasey 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.

“I am very proud to serve with the second Battalion and it means a lot that my Regiment is being honoured by my county. I am also looking forward to continuing my army career with the First Fusiliers later this year after the Regimental merger.”

Cllr Brian Moss, Chairman of Warwickshire County Council, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Fusiliers to Warwick as we celebrate granting them the freedom of the county.

“This honour was unanimously agreed by all county councillors and is a clear message of support from the whole county. It is a way for us to show our most sincere appreciation and gratitude for the dedication of our hardworking service men and women, and the sacrifices they make.

“I hope that local residents and visitors to Warwick will turn out on the day to cheer on the troops and give them a warm Warwickshire welcome.”

Factfile on the Fusiliers

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was formed on April 23 1968 upon the amalgamation of The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, The Royal Fusiliers and the Lancashire Fusiliers.

The Regiment continues to recruit heavily from the Warwickshire area, and is active in the region thanks, in large part, to the hard work of the Army Reserves, local association and Cadet Forces.

This parade will hold additional significance as it will be one of the last ceremonial occasions  for troops from the Second Battalion as they will merge with the First Battalion in August 2014.

Second Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2 RRF) is a Light Infantry Battalion, currently based in Dhekelia, Cyprus.  They have just finished being the high-readiness Theatre Reserve Battalion, the operational reserve ready to deploy to Afghanistan if required.  The battalion now has the responsibility of guarding the UK’s strategic assets in Cyprus.

Warwickshire is  the second county area to grant the freedom of a county to the Regiment of Fusiliers, following Northumberland who did this in 2010.

The county council last welcomed the Fusiliers in November 2009 as the Second Battalion returned from a demanding tour of Afghanistan. Sadly during this tour seven members of the Second Battalion were killed.

2014 also marks the 1,100th anniversary of Warwick and the the parade will form part of the exciting line up of events planned in the town.