“BANDS PLAYING, COLOURS FLYING AND BAYONETS FIXED” AS SAILORS PARADE
Freedom of the Borough of Yeovil was exercised as 500 Sailors, Royal Marines and Soldiers paraded through the Town
On the 3 June 2015 the people of Yeovil saw service men and women of HMS Heron - better known as Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton parade through the town centre of Yeovil. Celebrating the 75th anniversary of HMS HERON, the march was led by the Commanding Officer, Commodore Jock Alexander OBE Royal Navy. He said:
“The Service men and women of HMS HERON will be exercising their Freedom of the Borough of Yeovil as they march through the streets of the town “with bands playing, colours flying and bayonets fixed”.”
I am very proud of the close bonds we have formed with the people of Yeovil over the years. Many of my people have made their homes in Yeovil and the local area. Wherever they are in the world, the men and women of RNAS Yeovilton are proud to have the support of the local community and an event like the Freedom Parade gives us the opportunity to show our thanks”.
The Mayor of Yeovil Cllr Mike Lock said;
“I am pleased and honoured” that the Commanding Officer of HMS Heron, Commodore Jock Alexander had chosen today to commemorate the two anniversaries.”
“Both days are key dates in our nation’s history and they remind us of our freedom following the end of the Second World War,” said the Mayor.
“The relationship between the town and the air station is stronger than ever and, as chairman of Yeovil Town Council, I will continue the practice of my predecessors of keeping in regular contact with the Commanding Officer and offering my full support and assistance to the air station in whatever way I can.”
RNAS Yeovilton was granted the Freedom of Yeovil in 1962 and with this great honour the right to parade. The Freedom of the Borough is an ancient privilege which dates from the time when standing armies, abroad the countryside, were often feared by townsfolk. To be given the right to enter a town and parade in this way was considered a sign of great trust.
The right of the Freedom of the Borough of Yeovil has been exercised by HMS HERON, on many occasions, most recently in 2010, showing the close links between the Air Station and the Town that have built up over the years. In fact, the parade is one of a number of events commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of RNAS Yeovilton, in June 1940, which will be the theme of this year's International Air Day, to be held on Saturday 11 July.