The sun shone down on a historic parade to mark the disbandment of a Preston-based medical squadron.
Troops from the Force Support Squadron, 2 Medical Regiment, based at Fulwood Barracks stood in silence as a bugle was played and the Royal Army Medical Corp flag was lowered.
The squadron is being disbanded in its 100th year and in the coming weeks soldiers will bid farewell to Fulwood Barracks, where they have been based since 1993.
The disbandment is part of the reorganisation of the Army and most of the soldiers will join other squadrons within their parent regiment, 2 Medical Regiment, at its base in Hohne, Germany.
Friday’s parade also saw the 50-strong squadron welcome back 20 of their soldiers who have been serving in Afghanistan on a six-month operational tour.
The Commanding Officer 2 Medical Regiment, Lt Col Graham Johnson, said: “The British Army is based on history and tradition and I think it’s only right and proper this historic day is marked appropriately.
“We shouldn’t be sad, we should take some real positives and the way we have approached this change has been fantastic.”
Lt Col Johnson also thanked the people of Preston for the support shown to the troops based at the barracks.
Cpl Tracey Morrison, 25, from Wigan, has been based in Preston since 2011 and currently lives in the barracks with her husband and three children.
She returned from Afghanistan last month and is now preparing to move from the Preston base to Hereford.
“I got back from Afghanistan on April 5, I was there for four months. It was alright, I was working doing admin – it’s a lot quieter out there.”
“In July the unit would’ve been 100 years. The parade went really well. I will be sad to see a lot of them go. I’ve made some really good mates – it’s like a little family. It’s the best squadron I have been in.”
Cpl David Mills, 30, from Chorley, has enjoyed being based at Preston because it is so close to home. The communications specialist will soon move to Catterick, the same place where he started out.
“It’s been good being nearer to home – I’ve been able to nip home for Sunday lunch!
“I have known a few of the these (soldiers) for four or five years – the army is getting smaller, we will all keep in touch.”
Meanwhile Warrant Officer Steven Pye, 39, from Longridge, will be staying at Fulwood Barracks preparing for the next regiment to make the barracks its home.
The squadron was first formed as 5 Field Ambulance in Aldershot 1914 and was present at the battles of the Somme, Arras, Cambrai and the Hindenburg Line before being disbanded at the end of the First World War.
At the outbreak of the Second World War 5 Field Ambulance was reformed at the Connaught Hospital, Aldershot and served in Arles, Marshiennes, India, Rangoon and Japan.
After the war, the medics supported troops in Cyprus and during the Suez Canal Crisis before being disbanded again in 1958. The remnants of the squadron then moved from unit to unit and served in the first Gulf War,
In 1993 they moved to Preston as 5 Field Ambulance RAMC and have had various roles within different medical regiments since. They became part of 2 Medical Regiment on April 1 2011.
A new medical regiment, 3 Medical Regiment currently based in Catterick is expected to move into Fulwood Barracks later this year – that’s when the flag will be raised again.