The Coldstream Guards will be celebrating their historic links with Exeter and the South West on 5/6 July. On 5 July the Regiment will exercise the Freedom of Merton in the morning. The world-famous Band of the Coldstream Guards will hold a fundraising concert in Exeter Cathedral to raise funds for regimental welfare charities. On 6 July, the City of Exeter will grant its freedom to the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, who will march through the City centre in their famous scarlet tunics and bearskin caps, accompanied by the Regimental Band. The Coldstream Guards are the the oldest Infantry Regiment in the British Army. Their links to Exeter and the South West date back to their formation in 1650 by Colonel (later General) George Monck, originally from Merton and later a resident of Exeter. World-renowned as elite soldiers, the Guards are the personal troops of the Sovereign. They split their duties between training and deployment for operational service and state ceremonial duties such as Trooping the Colour and Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Currently based in Aldershot, the 1st Battalion will move to Windsor in September, and is scheduled to return to Afghanistan in 2013.