Freedom of Helston Parade
The Sun was on parade along with over 200 Sailors and Airmen from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose who exercised their right to march through the Borough of Helston with “swords drawn, bayonets fixed, bands playing and colours flying”.
The Annual Freedom of Helston Parade brought the town to a stand-still as crowds, bathed in Cornish sunshine enthusiastically lined the processional route, cheering and waving Union flags. HMS Seahawk Band marched at the head of the parade which also included platoons of officers, ratings and a Colour party parading with the Queens Colour flanked by Sailors guarding the Ensign.
Personnel from the Air Station had earlier been inspected by the Mayor of Helston Councilor Jonathan Radford-Gaby who was impressed by their smart appearance and bearing. “HMS Seahawk has always played a big part in our community and it’s always a great pleasure to see the Freedom Parade. It is now part of the History of Helston.”
HMS Seahawk was granted the Freedom of the Borough of Helston in 1958, and the air station annually exercises this right. Taking the salute with the Mayor of Helston was HMS Seahawk Commanding Officer Captain Mark Garratt and members of the town council.
The tradition of conferring 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. Bodies of armed men were refused entry into the town unless the citizens were confident that they meant no harm. The granting of permission for a formed body of armed men to enter a town became a mark of trust and confidence in which that body was held by the citizens of the town.
To be granted freedom of a town or city is the greatest honour that can be bestowed on a unit within the Armed Forces.