Soldiers, Veterans and Residents mark St George’s Day in Emsworth, Tuesday 23rd April 2019


Now in its eleventh year Emsworth's celebration of St George's Day has become a favourite in the town's calendar.  Once again a large crowd packed the square and High Street to applaud the men and women of 16 Regiment RA, based on nearby Thorney Island and veterans from various conflicts going back 60 years, including Borneo and Malaya as they marched through the town to parade in the Square accompanied by children from Thorney Island Primary School.

Personnel on parade formed up at the Lord Raglan Pub then marched up towards St Peter’s Square towards the waiting cheering crowds; they marched past the dais with an ‘eyes left’ towards the Mayor of Havant, Councillor Peter Wade and Lieutenant Colonel Chris Coton, Commanding Officer 16 Regt RA. The parade then turned right onto Spring Gardens, joined onto Kings Terrace and looped back onto and along the High Street before halting back at the dais.

The Parade was addressed by the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Colton and the Mayor of Havant, Councilor Peter Wade who were enthusiastically applauded by the crowd.

The Commanding Officer firstly addressed the troops and said “I am greatly honoured to be here representing the military community from Thorney Island on today’s St George’s Day. I’d like to offer some thanks firstly to the serving men and women of 16 Regt RA, who have turned out in a show of support. I would also like to thank the veterans for their support, it’s great to see so many of you here alongside our serving military contingent. Finally, I would like to thank the children from Thorney Island Primary School and Emsworth Primary School along with all the other children who have come along today to show their support. We are very proud to be a part of this community and thank you for such a warm welcome on this special day.” 

The Mayor of Havant spoke warmly of the link between the regiment and the town and the importance of the recognition given to the veterans on parade.


Once the speeches had been made the Commanding Officer and the Mayor stepped off the dais and presented the front rank of soldiers with their Emsworth Rose. The Regimental Sergeant Major, WO1 Sharon Pleece and the Regimental Signal Officer, Capt Matthew Purdy presented roses to those in the middle and rear ranks with the remaining Regimental Officers presenting roses to the Veterans.   The Emsworth Rose, also referred to as the Imjin Rose, honours the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Imjin River in the oft-forgotten Korean War. This battle was a valiant rear-guard action to halt the Chinese and North Korean army and was concluded on St George’s Day 1951.   Once all the presentations had taken place the Mayor and Lt Col Coton returned to the dais and Reverend Andrew Sheard from St James Church in Emsworth said the prayers.

The parade celebrations drew to an end with the National Anthem echoing across the town centre.   The Battery Commander, Major Chris Maher then approached the dais and asked permission for his troops to march off, with consent the Battery turned to the left and stepped off, departing St Peter’s Square. Within minutes the town had returned to normality and the community continued with their daily routine, proud to be English.

 The parade was organised by Councilor Lulu Bowerman with help from members of the Business Association and Havant Rotary Club.   A street collection raised money for SAAFA.

Official Photos of the Parade:



Photographs: Cpl Ben Beale, Army Photographer, Images Crown Copyright.

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