Royal salute for Barnstaple troops

Joseph Bulmer

Prince Philip to honour Chivenor Marines during High Street march

BARNSTAPLE will be in royal company when the town turns out to honour the bravery of RMB Chivenor-based Royal Marines next month.

The Gazette can reveal that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will salute troops from the Commando Logistic Regiment during a parade through the town on Thursday, November 17.

The visit of His Royal Highness – who was made Lord High Admiral by the Queen on his 90th birthday earlier this year and is also Captain General of the Royal Marines – was confirmed by Buckingham Palace earlier this week.

The Duke is understood to have attended a medal parade and drum-head service at the Chivenor barracks in May 1998, although he is not thought to have made a public appearance in Barnstaple since a visit with the Queen in 1956.

Mayor of Barnstaple Ian Roome said: “This is great news for Barnstaple. I am certain the town will give the Duke a warm reception as well as honour the troops who have recently returned from Afghanistan.”

The 120 servicemen and women from the North Devon-based regiment have recently returned from a six months deployment, where they served on Operation Herrick 14.

They will be led through the town by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and thousands are expected to line the streets to witness the march, which will begin at 10.30am.

The parade will proceed from the Square, along the High Street, North Walk and past the Heritage Centre on the Strand, where the Duke is expected to take the salute.

More than 1,000 families and friends are travelling from all over the UK to show their support.

Barnstaple town clerk Anne Jenkins said local businesses were being encouraged to decorate shop fronts and that Union Jack flags would be sold in aid of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

On return to the barracks troops will receive various medals, including the Operational Service Medal, presented by the Duke and distinguished guests. A medal parade will take place at 1pm, followed by a families’ day for troops and their families.

Commanding Officer, Colonel Peter Taylor, said: “Throughout Herrick 14, CLR’s Rear Operations Group based in RMB Chivenor, has provided unwavering support to those deployed, to family and to friends.

“This support has facilitated CLR’s success throughout 2011. We now look forward to our medals parade, families’ day and to taking some well-earned leave.”