Winchester hosts Royal Welcome Home Parade for 11 Light Brigade

It is expected that thousands of people will line the streets of Winchester when Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall formally welcomes home 650 soldiers of 11 Light Brigade accompanied by three military bands on Wednesday 23 June 2010. This national event will be the largest of its kind to date and is anticipated to attract widespread media coverage.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire together with the leaders of Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council are proud to be supporting this national event which is taking place in Winchester with its strong historic connections to the armed services.

Starting at midday

650 troops from 11 Light Brigade, accompanied by three military bands will march from St Cross Cricket Ground along Southgate Street into Winchester. Marching six abreast the troops will line up in the Broadway outside the Guildhall joining wounded personnel, family representatives of some of the 64 soldiers killed in action and relations of the seriously injured who are unable to attend.

At 13.15 pm

The Duchess of Cornwall will address the troops from a dais before carrying out an inspection.

At approximately 13.40

There will be a fly past of four Tornado jets before the Parade turns left and marches around King Alfred’s statue back up the High Street to Winchester Cathedral.

At 15.00

There will be a private Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance in Winchester Cathedral in recognition of the contribution and sacrifice of service personnel and their families on return from the conflict in Afghanistan. The Cathedral Service is for invited guests, all ranks, wounded personnel, family representatives of those killed in action and relations of the seriously injured who are unable to attend. Upwards of 1,400 people will attend the Cathedral Service and there will be a private reception afterwards.

Temporary traffic disruption

Vehicles will not be allowed onto St Cross Road and Southgate Street for a short period from 12.00 noon until the parade passes through (approximately 50 minutes). Large stands will be erected for invited guests and families in the Broadway area where there will be no traffic access between 8 and 4pm. This means there will be no traffic access to Colebrook Street from the Broadway for the same period. Delays can also be expected in Market Lane, The Square and Market Street between 2 and 3 pm.

Public encouraged to use Winchester's Park and Ride

Large crowds of people are expected for the Parade and people are encouraged to use public transport and Winchester’s three Park and Ride facilities:

Good viewing points

Because of the numbers of troops marching together with the expected large numbers of spectators in the City Centre, the event organisers are stressing that there will be plenty of opportunities to see the Parade from where they set off at St Cross Cricket Ground. School children will be positioned at points along the road from St Cross down Southgate Street where there are good viewing points. A party of veterans plan to be outside Serle’s House and the Military Museum on Southgate Street. The Broadway and the High Street will be very busy and another good viewing opportunity will be from 13.45 pm at Winchester Cathedral as the soldiers move from the Broadway and march to the Cathedral for the 15.00 Service.

The largest parade of its kind to date

This will be the first time a Brigade of such a large size has been welcomed home in this way. Hampshire is home to 11 Light Brigade’s Headquarters in Aldershot. The brigade is made up of many different regiments and is unique in that it came into existence specifically for a tour of duty in Afghanistan to reduce pressure on other regiments that were being sent out increasingly frequently. Some of the units are based in Hampshire but other regiments are based in Edinburgh, Chester, London and Germany. This will be the final act of 11 Light Brigade before disbanding.

The timetable for the day

Timings for the day including timings of road closures and the names of the regiments and units taking part, are on a dedicated Homecoming website:

Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council hope everyone will enjoy this special day.