Friday, 17 July 2009

Hampshire Tigers parade in Romsey

On Tuesday I decided to go into the centre of town to see the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1PWRR) parade through on their homecoming from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The parade was due off at 16.00, and so I headed down three-quarters of an hour early. I did not know quite what to expect, and was amazed to find that the town was bustling - so much so that I had to park on the verge of the bypass outside town, along with dozens of other cars on either side of the road.

A quick walk into town showed that there was little point in staying around the market square, where medals were due to be given out after the parade - the crowds were already five or six deep. I have never seen Romsey so busy. I made my way along the High Street, then up Latimer Street - still crowded - then cut across towards the abbey, where I finally managed to find a quieter spot. It seemed like the whole town - and more - had turned out.

The parade passed; a band in black trousers and scarlet jacket; then the desert-camouflage clad soldiers and finally the veterans.

After they passed I ran back to Latimer Street, where I got a glimpse of them passing again (there were too many people to see clearly).

What was remarkable about this was the numbers of people who turned out. There were thousands, literally, in a town not quite designed for such numbers. Whether you agree with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or not, it is good that so many people appreciate the valour of these brave men and women.

No comments: