Romsey will have the chance to show its support for our troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan when members of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment parade through the town centre this summer.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the PWRR will march with colours flying and bayonets fixed at a Homecoming Freedom of Parade on Tuesday, July 14.

The troops are currently on active service, some performing armed escort duty in Afghanistan and others in Iraq, where they have been training the Iraqi army.

Romsey’s mayor, Karen Dunleavey, approached the regiment following a remark by Abbey vicar, Tim Sledge, in his Remembrance Day sermon last year.

“The vicar said we welcomed our Olympic medallists home as heroes, but we didn’t do always do the same for our servicemen. I thought we ought to do something about that,” said Mrs Dunleavey.

More than 200 serving troops in desert deployments, plus a regimental band and members of the Royal Hampshire Comrades, will take part.

“We think this is very important. It is a great honour to have the civic freedom of Romsey,” said Major Tony Martin, the deputy regimental secretary.

The PWRR already enjoys the freedom of Romsey, which it inherited from the old Royal Hampshire Regiment following its amalgamation in 1992 with the Queen’s Regiment.

The soldiers will attend a service at Romsey Abbey at 2.30pm, before marching back to the Market Place to receive an official civic welcome. They will then march to Romsey School for a reception.

“I want to get the schools involved to give the soldiers a real heroes’ welcome,” said Mrs Dunleavey.

The PWRR is the most decorated of all British Army regiments, with 57 Victoria Crosses including the VC awarded to Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry in 2004, for his gallantry in Iraq.

The 1st Battalion are known as the “Armoured Tigers”, the majority of soldiers are mounted in the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle. They are normally stationed in Paderborn, Germany.