SOLDIERS took to the streets of Newport today, to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the 104th Regiment Royal Artillery.

The Freedom Parade also celebrated the city's links with the Regiment, which has a base at Newport's Raglan Barracks.

It was just the third occasion - and the first in 15 years - that the Regiment has exercised its right to march through the city since it was awarded the Freedom of Newport in 1978.

The parade, which was led by the Band of the Royal Artillery, took place following a service at Newport Cathedral.

Colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed, soldiers and officers from all four of the Regiments' Batteries gathered in Cambrian Road before marching into Bridge Street and up the High Street to the D-Day Memorial.

Council leader Debbie Wilcox, who presented a Freedom Scroll, told the soldiers and a 300-strong crowd that "the council is proud of its close and continued association with the 104th Regiment."

"I am delighted and honoured to be able to formally present this scroll celebrating 50 years since the Army Reserve Unit based at Raglan Barracks was formed," she said.

She added that the Regiment is one of fewer than 20 individuals and organisations to have been awarded the Freedom of Newport since 1909. 

Mayor of Newport David Attwell took a salute with other dignitaries as part of the formalites, before the parade reformed and marched back down the High Street.

Crowds several hundreds strong braved the April showers to watch the parade pass across Stow Hill and into Commercial Street. The parade ended at the junction of Charles Street and Llanarth Street.

Joining the march on its way back through the city was an artillery piece, to mark a change of role for the regiment, from intelligence and surveillance, to artillery.