Freedom Of Bicester: Honour For Bomb Disposal Training Regiment

Hundreds of well-wishers turned out to watch them march through the town.

The Defence EOD Munitions and Search Training Regiment has been given the freedom of Bicester for the first time.

Eighty-three of its members marched through the town, to the beat of the 7 Rifles Waterloo Band and in front of hundreds of well-wishers.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hallett, Commanding Officer Dems Training Regiment, said: "They're not natural parade people.

"We have some Royal Navy people who haven't done drills since their basic training some 30 years ago.

"I was extraordinarily proud to see them all parading through the streets, with bayonets fixed, with a band in front, and with swords drawn.

"A supremely proud moment of my career."

The tri-service regiment trains around 3,000 UK defence personnel every year and runs 42 different courses covering all aspects of bomb disposal.

All of the instructors on parade have operational experience, from Northern Ireland to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Operators also work closer to home, safely detonating an unexploded World War Two bomb found in Kingston-upon-Thames in May.

The parade was all about celebrating the regiment’s relationship with the local community.

Brigadier Matt Bazeley, Commandant, The School of Mechanical Engineering Group, said: "Days like today are an opportunity for us to get into the public eye."

The regiment hopes the freedom of Bicester will help cement its friendship with the town.