More than 100 soldiers from 4 Military Intelligence Battalion paraded through Marlborough to mark a decade since they were given the freedom of the town and 20 years since their formation.

They marched down the High Street accompanied by the Army Band from Tidworth before forming up in front of the mayor and mayoress, councillors and members of the public.

The salute was taken by Maj Gen Ben Kite, who was commander when the unit became the first in the British Army to receive the honour from Marlborough since it was given its Royal Charter in 1204. He said: “I remember with great affection the partnership with Marlborough.

“It’s really good to witness a Freedom Parade, it is important for the soldiers and officers on parade to get a sense of who they serve when they put on the Queen’s uniform. We serve the Head of State, and we serve the people of this country who occupy the towns and villages across this great nation of ours.

“I think they are important from the town’s perspective.You are giving them the freedom to march through your streets. And you should have an opportunity to get the measure of the men and women from 4MI, and judge whether they meet the standards Marlborough should rightly expect from your battalion.”

The service personnel recognisable by their distinctive green berets have shared a close friendship with the town since the battalion was formed in 2001.

Mayor of Marlborough Mark Cooper said: “The Town Council and the people of Marlborough are incredibly proud of the strong links that have been forged with 4 Military Intelligence Battalion. The freedom parade recognises the fantastic work that they do on behalf of the people of Marlborough and the country in general.

"It is an honour and privilege for Marlborough to host the freedom parade, and we thank them for all the incredible work that they do.”

The unit provides intelligence support to the army’s war fighting division, as well as the Light Infantry Brigades.

Over the last year 119 personnel deployed overseas to 13 different countries ranging from Estonia to stabilisation operations in Africa. And they were involved in Operation Rescript, the Government response to Covid-19.