Dignitaries and residents officially welcomed a new Army Reserve regiment to Banbury on Sunday as its members paraded through the town centre.
Fifty members of the Territorial Army were officially inducted into the newly-formed 142 Vehicle Squadron of the Royal Logistics Corps, which becomes the British Army and Army Reserve’s only dedicated regiment of military vehicle drivers.
It replaces the Royal Signals Corps TA regiment which has been based on Oxford Road until now.
Banbury town mayor Nicholas Turner said he felt “proud and privileged” to welcome the new unit which has been formed as part of the Army’s 2020 reorganisation plan.
He said: “I think at a time when there’s military cut-backs the fact that we are having an Army Reserve force in the town shows a real commitment to Banbury and in many ways repays the kind of commitment Banbury shows to the armed forces through events like Armed Forces Day and Armistice Day.”
He continued: “I hope they will engage with the community and with the Cadets and I think having that connection is really important.”
The members of 142 Vehicle Squadron will complete all their training in Banbury and will be responsible for delivering army vehicles from tanks, armoured personnel carriers and motorbikes to units all over the world.
Following a service of dedication at St Mary’s Church at 2pm, the parade moved to People’s Park for a special ceremony attended by Cllr Turner and Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry.
The parade, led by Banbury’s 1460 Squadron Air Training Corps band, then marched along Horse Fair and down the High Street before disbanding in Broad Street.
Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, John Harwood, also attended.
Cllr Turner said: “I felt really proud and privileged to have the honour of inspecting them and giving them the right to march through town with their guns held high.”
Unit Commander Major Jeremy Burnan said: “Already the people and civic authorities of Banbury have shown tremendous excitement and warmth towards the changes.
“Our parade is an early opportunity to thank them for that and to say hello to Banbury.”