Farewell parade for volunteer regiment

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A volunteer army unit will make its final march through Bedford before it is disbanded after 220 years of service.

The 201 (Herts and Beds Yeomanry) Parachute Battery Royal Artillery (Volunteers) will make its way through the town on Saturday, March 1 in its last Freedom of the Borough Parade.

The parade will leave Bedford Park at lunchtime before heading down De Parys Avenue, into the High Street and on to The Embankment.

It will be joined with music from The Band of the Parachute Regiment.

Commanding Officer of 100 Regiment RA Lieutenant Colonel Mike Bishop, said: “The Army Reserve needed to be shaped to meet future challenges. Our soldiers realise that, and I know will serve their future units with the same commitment they have given to 201 (Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Parachute Battery Royal Artillery. A commitment that has made me proud to be their Commanding Officer.”

He added: “The parade will provide an opportunity for the Regiment’s past and present members to reflect on their part within the Battery’s 200-year history.

“While this parade marks the end of an era, it is also a time to celebrate the history and service of the Regiment.”

The Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry was formed in May 1961 but its origins date back over 200 years. 

Both the Herts and Beds Yeomanry were initially a Cavalry Brigade but were converted to Artillery in 1920. 

Both counties were represented in the British Expeditionary Force and fought in France and the Far East. The Battery will enter Suspended Animation on March 31.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “Bedford is extremely proud to host the 201 (Herts and Beds Yeomanry) Parachute Battery Royal Artillery Volunteers final Freedom of the Borough Parade.

“I hope people turn out to show them their support and give them a good send-off as they march through the town.”

The stretch of the Embankment between the High Street and Newnham Road will be closed to traffic during the parade.