28 Jun 2009

Hundreds gather for battalion anniversary

7:38 am on 28 June 2009

About 500 people gathered in central Christchurch on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the 150th anniversary of one of the country's oldest army battalions.

A Defence spokesperson says about 200 of those present were current or former territorial soldiers of the 2nd Canterbury, Marlborough/Nelson and West Coast Battalion Group.

New Zealand's most famous soldiers, including Sir Charles Upham and Jack Hinton, served in the 2nd Battalion Group.

The Army Reserve unit is mainly comprised of territorial soldiers and its service has ranged from defending the Pacific and fighting alongside the regular force during World War II, to peace-building in the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste today.

The soldiers train one weekend a month and have about two night parades a month.

A remembrance service was being held at Christchurch Cathedral on Sunday.