Members of Spalding branch of The Royal Lincolnshire Regimental Association had an emotional trip to their old HQ on Saturday.
After months of fundraising, a £22,000 memorial was unveiled at Sobraon Park – the former site of the regiment’s old barracks.
The Lincolns from around the county were on formal parade for the last time and there was a tribute to them from the skies as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight sent a Dakota for a flypast as well as top brass and civic dignitaries on the ground.
Spalding branch members and friends travelled to the ceremony in a coach paid for by Coun Angela Newton, who had organised a £1,000 mass donation for the memorial by 16 councillors.
Much of the fundraising was carried out by the old soldiers themselves with collections at supermarkets and Spalding branch chairman Ken Willows paid tribute to the public for their generosity.
Memorial appeal chairman Col Geoff Newmarch also paid tribute to all the branches who collected, South Holland District Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Co-operative Society and the many other organisations and individuals who made the memorial project possible.
He said: “Throughout the past 18 months, the support we have received from everyone has been quite overwhelming.”
The barracks had been home to The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment since 1878, but the regiment’s history stretches back to 1685.
Through its 275 years of service, The Lincolns were awarded 131 battle honours including ten Victoria Crosses.
The Lincolnshire Poacher Memorial was designed by architect Mike Credland, who donated his work free of charge.
The memorial itself is based on the main facades of the barracks blocks that were on the site up to 2007.
It features the words to The Lincolns’ old marchpast tune, The Lincolnshire Poacher, as well as listing battle honours gained down the centuries.
The name Sobraon refers to the regiment’s most famous battle honour, gained during the Sikh Wars in February 1846.
The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment was swept away in the 1960s as regiments were amalgamated and there have been no true Lincolns since that time.
Spalding still has Lincolns in their 80s and 90s who served during the Second World War and actively fundraised for the memorial so there is a permanent reminder of the regiment’s proud history.