ROMAN soldiers who vanished from York more than 1,500 years ago have returned to mark the twinning of their Legion with another from Chester.

The disappearance of the Roman IX Legion remains a mystery after Harry Martindale saw their ghostly forms in the cellar of the Treasurer's House in the 1950s.

Now they have returned in a more solid form to celebrate the twinning of their lost legion and Chester's XX Legion.

A day of activities took place at the Eboracum Legion Bathhouse and St Sampson's Square yesterday.

Children tried their hand at Roman games and found out what it was like to join the Roman army.

Gillian Cruddas, of York Tourism Bureau, said: "York and Chester have a lot in common, though we like to think we have more Roman connections than they do.

"We're delighted Chester's XX legion has agreed to take part in a day of Roman festivities.

"The day was a celebration of York's Roman heritage, which we hope will lead to greater interest in the city's Roman festival in July."

Updated: 12:34 Saturday, June 05, 2004