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Home Canterbury News Article
Soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders are saying goodbye to Kent for the final time today as they prepare to leave the city after a decade.
Hundreds of people turned out to see the 5th Battalion the Royal regiment of Scotland (5SCOTS) parade through Canterbury this morning.
The soldiers, who are leaving Howe Barracks after 10 years, left Canterbury West station at 10.40am.
With swords drawn and colours flying to the sound of the Battalion pipes and drums, they were accompanied by the Regimental Mascot Cruachan IV, which is a Shetland pony.
The parade proceeded to Canterbury Cathedral, where a farewell service was then taking place.
The route included Station Road West, St Dunstan's Street, Westgate Towers, High Street, The Parade, Longmarket, Burgate and enters the Cathedral through the main entrance.
Lieutenant Colonel Neil Den-Mckay, commanding officer 5SCOTS, said: "Although it will be a day of mixed emotions, we will march with our heads held high to show our pride at being awarded the honour of the Freedom of the City of Canterbury and our immense gratitude to its people."
Under Army restructuring, 5 SCOTS has been reduced to a single company and the battalion is leaving the city, which has been its home for the past 10 years.
On Friday, the Queen - as the Colonel-in-Chief - is set to visit Howe Barracks to witness a final parade along with members of the wider Argyll/SCOTS family.
Civic guests, members of the Regimental Association and families of serving soldiers will also attend.
5 SCOTS is an air assault infantry battalion and has a distinguished history dating back to 1794.
The battalion's forbears were dubbed the Thin Red Line at Balaklava during the Crimean War and won six Victoria Crosses in one day at Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny.
In the last decade, they have been deployed to Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The battalion is to be reduced to a single Public Duties Incremental Company to be known as Balaklava Company - a nod to its Crimean War record.
The Queen visited Howe Barracks in 2004 to formally express her thanks to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders for services abroad.
In her role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Argylls, the Queen awarded medals to 15 soldiers of the 1st Battalion and the Wilkinson Sword of Peace to the regiment.
The medals were for outstanding operational service in Iraq.
It came after 450 soldiers returned from there after a six-month tour of duty in July that year.
The sword of peace was for peacekeeping work in Belfast in 2002.
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