Riflemen who have recently returned from Afghanistan will exercise their Freedom of Doncaster on Saturday as they march to the Mansion House with rifles at the trail, bugles sounding and bands playing

Doncaster is a heartland town for 5th Battalion The Rifles, an armoured infantry battalion which is normally based in Paderborn, Germany. Many of the soldiers from the Battalion’s D Company and their families hail from the town and other parts of Yorkshire.

They will be joined by Territorial Army soldiers from D (Rifles) company, 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers based in Scarborough Barracks in Balby, Army cadets from the Humberside and South Yorkshire Cadet Force and veterans from The Rifles Regimental Association as they march to music from the Band and Bugles of The Rifles. The Rifles march at 140 paces per minute, much faster than that of the rest of the Infantry who march at 120.

The 250-strong parade will form up in Sir Nigel Gresley Square and march from Waterdale along Wood Street, Cleveland Street, Duke Street, St Sepulchregate, High Street halting at the Mansion House.

The parade will be inspected by the Civic Mayor and Mayor of Doncaster, Councillor Christine Mills and Mr Peter Davies, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Mr David Moody and Director Combat, Brigadier Justin Maciejewski (late The Rifles).

“We are delighted to be exercising our Freedom as The Rifles in Doncaster for the first time and be able to thank people for their support during our Afghanistan tour,” said the Battalion’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Collins.

“While the Battalion was away doing this high intensity and challenging job, it meant a lot to the Riflemen to know they had this support. Exercising our historic right to the Freedom of the Borough is a great honour and a fitting way to celebrate our achievements and commemorate the two soldiers who were sadly killed in action – Rifleman Sheldon Steel and Private Tom Lake of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.”

5th Battalion The Rifles returned from a six month tour in Afghanistan earlier this year where they were widely spread in Helmand Province providing the British area’s Armoured Infantry capability. Their work included working with local communities around the Nahr-e-Saraj area, helping district community councillors and local elders from villages in the area get together at a ‘shura’ or meeting and, in a three-day partnered operation, Riflemen guarded an area while IEDs were cleared out so that the Afghan police were able to build the defences around their new checkpoint.

During their tour Riflemen also teamed up with 200 warriors from the 2nd Kandak of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and patrolmen from the Afghan National Police (ANP) to drive the insurgency from Kopak, in the Nahr-e Saraj district.

Doncaster originally conferred the Freedom of the town on the antecedents of The Rifles, the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 20 October 1946. The Rifles have held this honour since 8 September 2007.