Soldiers from the Mercian Regiment paraded through Chester city centre on Saturday as they continue preparations for deployment to Kenya.
Starting outside Chester Castle at 11.30am, more than 60 soldiers from A Company, 2 Mercian, marched with bayonets fitted, exercising their right to the freedom of the city.
Regimental mascot, Private Derby XXX – a ram who made national headlines by switching on the Christmas Lights in Ashbourne – led the troops with the Band of The Mercian Regiment and Prince of Wales Division. The ram is paid a wage which goes towards upkeep and rations.
The regiment recruits from Cheshire, Wirral and Manchester and last year transferred its 2nd Battalion (2 Mercian) from Northern Ireland to Dale Barracks on the outskirts of Chester as part of the Army 2020 Future Structures plan.
A salute was taken outside EE on Eastgate Street by deputy Lord Mayor of Chester Hugo Deynem.
Following its return from Afghanistan, the battalion has deployed to Lithuania, Cyprus and Uganda during the past 12 months. These exercises will conclude with Exercise Allied Spirit in early May.
Elements of 2 Mercian will deploy to Kenya to conduct a full range of military tasks including live firing exercises. They will then operate in the battle group context, with support from mortars, anti-tanks, snipers, reconnaissance, artillery, engineers and aviation, to demonstrate the full range of capabilities of a modern Infantry battalion in the British Army.