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45 Commando and Arbroath celebrate 45 years of a proud, shared history

45 Commando and Arbroath celebrate 45 years of a proud, shared history
30 March 2017
The stirring sight of the Band of HM Royal Marines Scotland leading the 350 green berets of 45 Commando and their associated Army unit brings the granite-flanked streets of Arbroath to a standstill.

It is 45 years since 45 Commando moved into the former naval air base at Condor on the edge of the coastal town (pop. 23,902) - and that warranted a civic celebration.

As it's a relatively small town, the march to and from the High Street from Victoria Park only took about ten minutes each way.

In between, there was a salute for the Provost Angus Provost Alex King who inspected the band and marchers and thanked them for their contributions to peace and stability on the world stage - and for playing a key role in community life in this part of Scotland, which granted the marines their highest civic honour, Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Arbroath and the county of Angus, in 2003.

We've been privileged over the years to have such great support from the local community of Arbroath and Angus

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Turner, Commanding Officer of 45 Commando Royal Marines

Provost King told the massed ranks - including army gunners of 7 (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery, part of 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery - that their 'adopted town' was proud of them.

"We are proud of the valour and the resilience of 45 Commando," he said.

"You serve at a time of continuing conflict and unrest, exercising your duty with courage and compassion wherever you are deployed across the globe. You are a valued part of our Angus family and are superb ambassadors for the county."

The parade brought the town - famous the world over for its smoked haddock (Arbroath smokies) - to a standstill as shoppers and the general public put their usual routines on hold, stood several deep on the pavements and applauded those marching through their streets for the first time since 2009.

Lieutenant Colonel Tony Turner RM, 45 Commando's CO said over the four and a half decades the town and the marines unit had become inextricable bound.

"This parade marks 45 years of shared history between 45 Commando and Angus," he added.

"We've been privileged over the years to have such great support from the local community of Arbroath and Angus. That shared history is what, I think, makes our organisation and our connection to Arbroath so unique. It is a very special place for 45 Commando."

Following the march the marines returned to the base - established by the Fleet Air Arm in 1938 - for a civic reception hosted by Provost King.

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