Residents urged to line the streets to honour regiment

By Sarah Edwards at

People are being urged to line the streets of Bicester town centre to celebrate a military training regiment receiving the town’s highest honour.
On Sunday, July 7, the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment, DEMS, based at St George’s Barracks, will be given the Freedom of Entry.
The decree, a ceremonial honour, means the regiment can march through the town with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, band playing and colours flying.
The event will be marked by a service at St Edburg’s Church, in Church Street, at 2pm, followed by a parade at approximately 3pm from the church to the Market Square where Bicester’s Mayor Jason Slaymaker, alongside senior military officers, will inspect the troops and take the salute.
Afterwards a scroll confirming the freedom of entry to Bicester will be presented to the regiment in Market Square.
Mayor Cllr Slaymaker said: “I would encourage as many people as possible to come along and support the regiment.This event will be a wonderful spectacle with soldiers in their dress uniforms parading through the town. Bicester has long had a strong connection with the military, so this will be a very special moment in the history of the town.
“The regiment should be lined up and ready to start the parade from the church at 3pm on Sunday and it would be great to see residents lining the Causeway and Market Square, clapping and cheering the soldiers to show their support. I have been looking forward to this event for a long time and feel honoured to be representing the town.”
Afterwards troops will march to Garth Park for refreshments.
A road closure will be in place in Church Street, the Causeway and Manorsfield Road from 6am to 4pm.
Last year town councillors unanimously agreed to award the highest civic honour the town can give to the DEMS regiment the highest civic honour. It came after soldiers from 1 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), based at St David’s Barracks, were given the same honour, the Freedom of Entry, last July.
The DEMS regiment opened a £100m training base near Bicester in 2013 and is responsible for training service personal across the Army, Navy and RAF in service personnel from other countries in bomb disposal and search techniques.