Freedom march

I was in London yesterday and missed members of the 21st Signal Regiment from Colerne in Wiltshire exercising their Freedom of the City right to march through Bath.

However, l am grateful to Christopher Sturgess from the Ministry of Defence Press Office for sending me some information and images.

He tells me:

“Large crowds, three and four deep in places, cheered and waved as The Corps Pipes and Drums led the parade of 160 officers and soldiers along the city centre route.

The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Rob Appleyard, said: “Giving the City an opportunity to re-affirm its respect and pride for 21 Signal Regiment is very special, and I am sure those taking part and watching will take away memories of a great occasion with the focus very much on all the service personnel that contribute in many ways to our safety and well-being.

The Regiment has a strong affiliation with Bath, having been awarded the Freedom of the City 11 years ago following operations in Afghanistan in 2011. The honour recognises the enduring bond between the Regiment and the City.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Gray, Commanding Officer 21 Signal Regiment, said:

“I could not be prouder of 21 Signal Regiment as it exercises its’ Freedom of the City of Bath, the first time in 11 years. Today recognises the enduring bond between the Regiment and the City. As the Regiment soon re-roles to become an Electronic Warfare unit under Future Solider we look forward to maintaining our strong association with the city.”

The tradition of the freedom of a Town or City dates from when fortress walls were necessary to protect its inhabitants from outlaw bands and the attacks of feudal lords.

Holding the freedom of a town or city is the greatest honour that can be bestowed on a unit within the Armed Forces and the Freedom will entitle the Regiment to exercise a right to march through the town with colours flying and bayonets fixed.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mrs Annie Maw, said:

‘It is a great honour to take the salute, today, as 21 Signal Regiment remind us of their entitlement to hold the Freedom of the City of Bath.  Our city is very proud of its relationship with the Regiment and today’s March Past has been a joint declaration of a precious and respectful affiliation. I hope that this tradition will be repeated, regularly, for many years to come to celebrate a lasting mutual friendship.’