CHESTS puffed out with pride as soldiers and veterans marched together to celebrate St George’s Day.
Crowds packed into the centre of Emsworth to witness the annual spectacle.
Fresh from a deployment to the Falkland Islands, about 45 soldiers from 30 Battery, 16 Regiment Royal Artillery marched through the town.
They were joined for the first time by the Band of the Royal Artillery – who travelled from Tidworth – as well as veterans and schoolchildren from Thorney Island Primary School.
Cheers erupted as the procession formed up in the High Street, with people of all ages waving the red and white flag of St George.
Lieutenant Alastair Loy, 26, was in the parade. He said: ‘Although we can’t show it on parade the support we get from the community does mean a great deal.
‘Every cheer we hear from the audience is support that is very welcome.’
A St George’s Day poem was read by Lieutenant Colonel Chris Colton, 16 Regiment’s commanding officer. Emsworth Roses were also presented to the soldiers and veterans.
WO2 Dale McCarthy’s daughter, Ellie, nine, was one of the children presenting the symbolic rose to troops.
The 41-year-old said: ‘It was a massively proud moment to have my daughter marching with me and presenting the Emsworth rose.’
A rousing rendition of the National Anthem capped off the morning’s celebration.
Dorothy Scott, 70, of Slipper Road, Emsworth, said: ‘I do love a man in uniform. It’s a wonderful day.’
Troops of 16 Regiment are stationed on Thorney Island. They are responsible for providing air defence cover for the UK and Falklands.