I only found out that The Poachers would be exercising their freedom of Cleethorpes the day before the parade was due to take place, but as it happened I had the day off work and was able to attend. Two Companies of the Regiment marched down St. Peter’s Avenue, through the Market Place and down Alexandra Road with their band playing, swords drawn, bayonets fixed and colours flying to mark their return from operations in Afghanistan.
I ended up watching the parade from quite a quiet section of Alexandra Road (I didn’t see how busy St. Peter’s Avenue was) and it was only after the parade marched passed that I got a more accurate impression of how many people were lining the route, as those lining the roads began to follow The Poachers up to the Memorial Gate, where veteran standard bearers from the British Legion and some flag waving school children were waiting for them.
Quite a crowd gathered to hear the various civic and military dignitaries make speeches and every opportunity was taken to applaud. The band played outside the National Westminster bank, but the crowd was so dense that I could not see them, despite their scarlet tunics. You can read more about the parade in the Grimsby Telegraph: ‘Proud moment’ for Lincolnshire Poachers as more than 100 soldiers parade through Cleethorpes.