A 188-year-old regiment, which built a World Heritage Site, has been disbanded as part of plans to modernise the Army.

To mark the history of 15 Field Squadron [Search] 36 Engineer Regiment, a parade was held yesterday (Thursday, November 21) at Claro Barracks, Ripon.

The Mayor of Ripon, Councillor Mick Stanley, attended the ceremony, which featured music by the Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band, alongside veterans of the counter-improvised explosive device squadron, one of only five specialist search units in the UK Armed Forces.

One of the squadron’s first tasks, from 1826 to 1832, was to help defend Canada by building the Rideau Canal linking Ottawa City with the Ottawa River.

The 200km waterway later became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During the First World War, one of its soldiers, Lieutenant General Philip Neame, was awarded a Victoria Cross for a single-handed bombing attack on Germans at Neuve Chapelle, France.

Lt Gen Neame went on to win a gold medal for shooting at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

In 1944, 15 Field Squadron landed on Sword Beach, in Normandy, with the first wave of troops on D-Day.

An Army spokesman the 60-member squadron, which has been based in Ripon for the past 50 years, would either remain at Claro Barracks until it closes in 2017 or be redeployed.

He said: “It was a sad day, particularly for the veterans, as they were a very close unit.

“A lot of them are hoping that it might be reformed in the future.”