As the County Infantry Regiment for the County of Hampshire, we have always recruited the majority of our soldiers from the County. Bearing in mind the strong military presence that exists, particularly in the Portsmouth area with the Royal Navy, we have always been delighted to recruit so well against such competition.
The Territorial and Service Battalions in the First World War added much of the bond to that connection with Hampshire, and certainly we could honestly say that we had soldiers from every corner of the County. This was continued in the Second World War to the extent that many of the towns and cities gave us the honour of being awarded the Freedom of their town.
The Freedom is an honour awarded to military units by the city or borough, which allows them to march through that city with drums beating, Colours flying and bayonets fixed. This privilege has long historic roots and is now largely ceremonial, it nevertheless is an honour and privilege closely guarded by military units as it is a tangible sign of their connection with the local community. The granting of the Freedom is usually followed by a march through the streets of that town ‘with drums beating, Colours flying and bayonets fixed’.
To this day we still hold the Freedoms/Affiliations/Privileges of the following towns and boroughs:
Borough of Aldershot 11th September 1945 (ceased to be a Freedom Borough in 1981 when the Borough of Rushmoor took over)
Borough of Bournemouth 13th September 1945
City of Winchester 15th September 1945
City of Southampton 25th April 1946
City of Portsmouth 20th May 1950
Borough of Romsey 26th September 1959
Borough of Basingstoke 16th July 1966
Borough of Rushmoor 20th May 1981
New Forest District (Affiliation) 8th July 1986
Borough of Test Valley 25th June 1986
Borough of Christchurch 19th October 1987
Borough of Eastleigh 14th September 1991
The Privilege of Jersey 9th May 1992 (Liberation Day)
The majority of these Freedoms have been passed on to the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.