TROOPS, families, councillors and members of the Ludgershall community beamed with pride as the Freedom of the Town was exercised.

Soldiers from the Perham Down-based 26 Engineer Regiment marched in the town on Saturday, September 7.

The troops marched from Corunna Barracks along Andover Road to Central Street, while the pavements were lined with residents clapping and waving flags to honour the soldiers.

The march with colours flying and fixed bayonets was led by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers.

Ludgershall Town Council chair of events Councillor Catherine Allan said: “It was really lovely, we felt proud to watch them walk through the town and I think they felt proud, in fact we know they felt proud as the Army tell us they are proud to take part and have the Freedom of the Town.”

Four squadrons took part in the special event, with around 200 troops marching through the garrison town.

“There were a lot of families on the streets, waving flags and clapping as the military went by,” Cllr Allan added.

“It was just a proud moment to give them the Freedom as they are always there for us, and now they have built the new houses in Ludgershall for the troops coming back from Germany.”

Along with soldiers on foot there was also an appearance from military vehicles including the Bulldog tank, which were loved by young and old.

The High Sheriff of Wiltshire David Scott was one of many civic dignitaries who also attended the special occasion.

The 26 Engineer Regiment was granted the Freedom of Ludgershall by the council in 2015, and a citation was handed over.

Part of that citation read: “26 Engineer Regiment, Corps of Royal Engineers, has achieved for itself honour and renown everywhere not only for the valour of its officers and men but also by their pioneering exploits and achievements at home and overseas.”

Cllr Allan added: “They have always helped us on our events, when we are doing events they are there to support us and in 2015 we decided to give them the Freedom of the Town and every two years they march through the town.”

Following the march on Saturday officers were invited into the Memorial Hall to enjoy a meal with councillors and civic dignitaries.

The tradition of granting the freedom of a town, or city, dates from when settlements were guarded from outlaws and feudal lords.

Bodies of armed men were refused entry into a town unless the citizens were confident that they meant no harm.

The granting became a mark of trust and confidence in how that body was held by the citizens of the town.