GUNFIRE was heard across a city centre as an artillery regiment exercised its freedom of the city .

The 4th Regiment Royal Artillery has held the freedom of Sunderland for 40 years and on Saturday (August 2) it returned there to mark the anniversary and the centenary of World War One.

Led by the Band of the King’s Division, the regiment marched from the civic centre to the Burdon Road War Memorial where it was inspected by the Mayor, Cllr Stuart Porthouse, and the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Sir Nigel Sherlock.

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The regiment fired a round from each of it eight of its 105mm ‘light guns’, which were stationed on the terrace in Mowbray Park.

Altogether, more than 200 gunners with connections to the region took part in the event.

Lieutenant Colonel John Catto, the regiment’s Commanding Officer, said: “There is a significant representation of ex-members of the North East Gunners in the Sunderland area.”

The Gunners have had three tours of duty in Afghanistan.

The regiment last fired its guns in Sunderland from Building Hill, Mowbray Park, next to the statue of General Henry Havelock, in July 2008 after returning from its first Afghanistan tour.