In 2007 Gillingham Town Council was the first Town in England to bestow the newly formed Rifles Regiment, the Freedom of the Town resulting from the amalgamation of four Regiments including the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry (granted freedom of the Town in 1998).
On the 6th June 2015 The Rifles exercised their right to march through the Town. The residents of Gillingham and the surrounding areas lined the pavements or assembled at the Town Meadow to see this spectacular event and support The Rifles Regiment.
The Parade mustered outside the Royal British Legion and 11.25am, led by the Gillingham Imperial Silver Band, The Mayor, Dignitaries, members of the Devonshire & Dorset Regiment Association and local youth groups paraded from School Lane to the Town Meadow.
At 11.35am The Rifles, with swords drawn, ceremonial weapons and bayonets fixed ( the traditional way that the military exercises the Freedom Right) were led by The Rifles Military band, and paraded at double time, from Hardings Lane to the Town Meadow, High Street, where an inspection and presentation took place. The parade then returned to Hardings Lane and School Lane respectively.
Later in the afternoon everyone was invited to join The Rifles Regimental Band on GillinghamSchool playing field to attend the Sounding Retreat – a spectacular display of music and marching.