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HMS Raleigh marches through Torpoint

4 October 2016
Crowds lined the streets of Torpoint to watch as HMS Raleigh exercised its right to the Freedom of Torpoint (2 October 2016).

Around 350 personnel from the Royal Navy training base took part in the parade ranging from new recruits who had been in the Service for just four weeks to seasoned sailors, some of whom have served for up to 35 years.

The march took place at the invitation of the Mayor, Councillor John Crago, and the Council and formed up at the ferry lines for an inspection, carried out by the Mayor.

A guard of honour comprising of recruits who are due to complete their 10-weeks initial naval training this Friday (7 October), were at the head of the parade.

Cllr Crago said:  “It was an excellent parade.  It’s a very proud day, not only for me, but for the whole community of Torpoint.  We are extremely grateful to have HMS Raleigh on our doorstep. 

"We consider HMS Raleigh really to be the jewel in the crown.”

We are extremely grateful to have HMS Raleigh on our doorstep. We consider HMS Raleigh really to be the jewel in the crown.

Councillor John Crago

As the parade marched back through the town, the Mayor was invited to take the salute standing outside the Torpoint Comrades Club in Antony Road, alongside the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, Captain Ellie Ablett.

Capt Ablett said:  “It’s wonderful to be so well supported by the people of Torpoint. It’s vital for HMS Raleigh to have a link with the town.

"There is a large number of civilian staff that work in the establishment and we benefit from their experience and longevity, but it’s also the community projects that we are involved in and the support we get from the town for the work that we are doing.

"Over 20,000 of those currently serving in the Navy started their careers here and that’s not just Ratings, but also a third of our Officer cadre who began their life as Ratings.”

The parade was led by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Plymouth and consisted of 10 platoons of sailors of all ranks, including Officers.

HMS Raleigh was first granted the right to march through Torpoint with 'swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and Colours flying' in 1997.  Since then the base has exercised the right to march on a regular basis, with the last time being in 2013.

To receive Freedom of entry to a town or city dates backed to medieval times and was seen as a symbol trust.

It is one of the highest honours that can be bestowed upon a military unit.

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