Soldiers welcomed to town by thousands, then refused drink by pub

11:31 09 November 2012

1st Battallion Royal Anglian Regiment parade through Romford town centre. Picture: Paul Bennett

1st Battallion Royal Anglian Regiment parade through Romford town centre. Picture: Paul Bennett

Archant

A parade to welcome home from Afghanistan an Army regiment turned sour for some of the men and their proud families when a pub refused to serve them.

Staff at The Bull pub in Romford Marketplace told groups of the soldiers, thirsty after the march through Romford town centre on Tuesday in front of thousands of cheering well-wishers and VIPs, that they were “not allowed to serve squaddies”.

The parade, during Remembrance week, was part of celebrations for the batallion being given the Freedom of the Borough.

Denise Coe, whose son is part of the regiment said: “I think it was absolutely disgusting and they should all be ashamed. What is the point of them having the Freedom of the Borough when the soldiers can’t even go to get a drink in a pub in the town?”

A spokesman for The Bull has since apologised, saying the soldiers should have been served.

The battalion, which has had 16 of its men killed in Afghanistan, was taking part in the parade in Romford to mark the end of its final tour of the country.

The parade had started in South Street, passing the pub.

Christine Clark, 70 from Collier Row, was with her grandson, who is in the regiment, and five of his friends who had also taken part in the parade.

She said: “There were about 15 soldiers just standing outside the bar and they told us that they wouldn’t serve them. When we went in they told my grandson and his friends that they ‘are not allowed to serve squaddies’.

“When my daughter asked if she could buy the drink for them they told her that “they are not allowed in’”.”

She added: “I felt so embarrased.

“Romford is my grandson’s hometown and he wanted to take his friends to the pub to get a drink and they wouldn’t even serve them.”

A spokesman for The Bull pub confirmed that the soldiers were denied entry into the pub.

He said: “This was a mistake. We absolutely welcome the armed forces into The Bull and we apologise for any offence caused to the soldiers. We are talking to the team members involved and clarifying we welcome the armed forces into the pub.”

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