Troops from the Queen’s Royal Lancers (QRL) will parade in the city centre on Armed Forces Day, which takes place on Saturday, June 29.
Starting on Cheapside, they will march along Piccadilly, Stafford Street, Quadrant Road, Town Road and to Tontine Square, where Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor Sheila Pitt will take the salute. The soldiers will then head down Tontine Street before finishing at Albion Square.
Although the regiment is based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, it is regarded as the Midland’s cavalry regiment and recruits heavily in North Staffordshire.
This is the third and probably final time the QRL will serve in Afghanistan, having deployed in 2007-8, 2010 and 2012-13 with more than 100 soldiers from Staffordshire having been involved with the latest tour.
Lord Mayor Sheila Pitt said:
“There is always a great turnout when we have military parades in the city and I’m sure this will be no different.
“We’re all very proud of the job our military personnel do in protecting the freedom and democracy that we all enjoy in this country.
“This is an opportunity for us to show our gratitude to the soldiers and I’d encourage as many people as possible to line the route and give them the warm welcome home they deserve.”
The soldiers will start the march at 12pm and will be led by the Band of the Coldstream Guards.
Then on Sunday, June 30, the annual Armed Forces Day celebration will be held in Queen’s Park, Longton. Organised by the North Staffordshire Armed Forces Celebration Committee through their new chairman Dennis Tideswell, Lord Mayor’s Office and Queen’s Park Partnership, the event will feature a parade by all of the armed forces community - from current serving troops to service families, and from veterans to new recruits. Every year the committee encourage school children to parade in memory or on behalf of a family member.
The parade, led by the Staffordshire and West Midlands (NS) Army Cadets Corps of Drums, will start at 1.45pm and will be followed by a Drumhead Service at the bandstand and an afternoon of musical entertainment and fun activities for all the family, including a display of vintage Army vehicles and military memorabilia.
Committee member Lilian Dodd said:
“This is the fifth time we have staged the event and the third time it has been held in the park.
“Last year we had more than 3,000 visitors and it was a fantastic event, and we’re hoping for similar this year.
“We will have a full parade with more than 55 different armed forces associations within the Staffordshire area and the deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Colonel David Leigh will take the salute.
“It promises to be a fantastic day and a chance for everyone to show their appreciation for our fantastic armed forces, both past and present.”