The Rifles exercise Freedom of the Town on Sunday, April 29 to parade through the streets of Barnstaple.

TROOPS will parade through Barnstaple on Sunday as 1st Battalion The Rifles exercises its Freedom of the Town for the first time.

The parade starts at 11.30am as The Rifles, led by the Salamanca Band and accompanied by the Army Cadet Force and the Old Comrades Association.

It will make its way from the Civic Centre car park, down the Strand to the Square, then along the High Street to the Pannier Market, where the salute will be given.

Based at Chepstow, the ranks of 1st Battalion include a number of North Devonians and for many this will be a real homecoming parade. The battalion returned from Afghanistan in December.

As many people as possible have been urged to line the route and show their support.

At 12 noon, the Mayor of Barnstaple, Councillor Ian Roome, will inspect the troops, whilst deputy mayor Cllr Mrs Lesley Brown inspects the Army Cadet Force and Old Comrades.

After the inspection and speeches, there will be a programme of music from the Salamanca Band, followed by the Army Cadet Force Band “beating the Retreat.

The Rifles Regiment was formed in 2007 from the amalgamation of The Devon and Dorsets, the Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshires, the Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets. It consists of five regular and two territorial battalions.

Barnstaple extended the Freedom of the Town to the Devonshire Regiment in 1946 and extended this to the Devon and Dorsets in 1958. It was given to the Rifles following the amalgamation in 2007.