SOLDIERS from the Royal Anglian Regiment will march through ­Huntingdon today (Monday) and receive the freedom of the town.

SOLDIERS from the Royal Anglian Regiment will march through ­Huntingdon today (Monday) and receive the freedom of the town.

The 100 soldiers, who returned in April from a tour of Afghanistan, will include the Guard from D Company (the Cambridgeshire Company), the Minden Band and The Colour Party, led by their commanding officer, Major Olly Brown.

They will arrive at Princes Street at 10.55am and march to the Market Square, where they will be inspected by the Mayor of Huntingdon, Councillor Chris Doyle. The mayor will then present them with a scroll giving them the freedom of ­Huntingdon.

After that, the soldiers will parade down the High Street for a civic reception at the Commemoration Hall.

Huntingdon is the first stop on a series of visits by the Royal Anglians in towns and cities where they have been honoured.

They will be in Cambridge on Monday evening, in Barking the following day, Ely on Wednesday, and in Southend on ­Thursday (June 17).

The Royal Anglians were offered the Huntingdon honour by last year's mayor, Cllr Saeed Akthar, who said the work of the armed forces should be recognised.

Major Brown told The Hunts Post that the support received from Huntingdonshire was "very touching".

He said: "The parcels and letters at Christmas meant a lot to us. When you are a long way from home, any letter, unless, it's a bill, will put a smile on someone's face."

The six-month tour of Afghanistan had been demanding and rewarding in equal measure, he said. "We were across the whole of Helmand. We were acting as support and security, day and night, putting our lives on the line, encouraging development, we saw the delivery of five school projects, irrigation ditches for crops, bridges so that people could get their tractors to the fields and their goods to market, building road networks. There were tense moments because there were a number of conflicts and engagements where we were seeking to defeat the enemy while protecting the local population and the terrain is rife with improvised explosive devices. While we were there, we encountered 150 of them - about one a day."

The regiment will in future be invited to take part in Remembrance Day and other civic services in Huntingdon.