ALTHOUGH Ellesmere Port missed out on a similar honour earlier this week, the Mercian Regiment will proudly parade through Chester this Saturday morning.
Fresh from their latest tour of duty in war-torn Iraq, soldiers of the regiment’s 1st battalion, which was formerly the Cheshire Regiment, were due to march through the centre of the Port yesterday (Tuesday) to mark their receipt of the Freedom of the Borough.
But last week the borough council issued a statement saying the parade had been scrapped due to “scheduling confusion” and would be re-arranged for this autumn.
This was confirmed by an army spokesman who said an “internal mix-up” had led to planning for the Ellesmere Port parade and similar ones in other parts of Cheshire to go ahead despite the necessity for the battalion to get its full entitlement of post-Iraq leave.
The spokesman added: “We apologise for the disappointment this has caused but the soldiers will be there in all their glory in the autumn.”
On Saturday the battalion, which will by then be back from leave, will lead the Lord Mayor of Chester’s Parade, starting at 11am.
The unit, formed on 1st September 2007 following the amalgamation of three neighbouring infantry regiments, including The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment, will be presented with the Freedom of the City by the Lord Mayor.
Many family and friends are expected to line the route.
1 Mercian deployed to Iraq in November 2007, returning back to the UK in late May 2008.
Elements of the battalion were stationed in Basra (at the main airport base), while one company of about 120 soldiers deployed north to Baghdad and another company was based further south in the port of Umm Qasr.