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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Army marks 150 years in home town
Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment marching
Members of the Red Devils display team will perform on Friday
More than 1,500 soldiers and veterans took to the streets of the Army's home town on Friday to mark 150 years of the military's presence there.

The Princess Royal watched as troops paraded through Aldershot in Hampshire.

Highlights of the day included a display by the Red Devils' parachute team and a fly-past by the Army Air Corps' helicopter display team.

The first garrison arrived in 1854 and troops based in the town have served in operations since the Crimean War.

Through the years we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the local borough and we're determined to strengthen those bonds for the future
Colonel Stephen Oxlade
Over the following 60 years the garrison grew to become the largest in the British Empire.

On Friday the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, based in Aldershot since 1880, was presented with the Freedom of the Borough of Rushmoor.

The Princess Royal also opened a new health centre for both military personnel and civilians.

It is hoped the facility will secure the future of the garrison in the town, an Army spokesperson said.

Other celebrations included the unveiling of a five-feet high cake cooked by Royal Logistic Corps Chefs and designed with the help of local residents.

'Strong bonds'

A union flag taken from the town by a Canadian soldier on his way to the trenches in World War I was also returned as part of the ceremonies.

Garrison Commander Colonel Stephen Oxlade said the day's celebrations had taken a year to plan.

He said: "Through the years we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the local borough and we're determined to strengthen those bonds for the future.

"They have wished us well when we went to war and welcomed us back warmly.

"Aldershot has always been regarded as the home of the British Army and we have been proud to call it home."





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