Royal Marines from 40 Commando were applauded and cheered when they paraded through Taunton, the County town of Somerset, as the Unit celebrated 35 years based at Norton Manor Camp.
They were exercising their Freedom of the Borough of Taunton Deane on Saturday June 30, National Armed Forces Day.
The freedom parade by the Royal Marines was overseen by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, and was the first time since 2013 that they had exercised their right. The honour is bestowed on very few Units and coincided with a series of activities in the town in recognition of Armed Forces Day.
The parade was close to the heart of Taunton Deane’s Mayor Cllr Catherine Herbert, whose husband Robin served in the Royal Marines, and whose chosen charities this year includes Taunton Sea Cadets and Royal Marines Cadets.
She said: “To say I’m delighted to be hosting this event on behalf of our borough would be an understatement. Freedom parades are spectacular and emotional – as a borough we have such strong and close ties with 40 Commando. We’re so proud of their history and service to our country. We have mourned their losses with them and we have celebrated their successes. The parade is our chance to demonstrate our support and respect.”
40 Commando’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard said: “40 Commando are extremely proud and honoured to be exercising the freedom of Taunton on Armed Forces Day.
Our close relationship with Taunton is fundamental to so many aspects of our business and following 35 years of unwavering support, we will be seeking to make the event as memorable as possible to show our thanks to this incredible community.”
40 Commando Royal Marines were awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Taunton Deane in 2003 by Taunton Deane Borough Council. It gives them the right to March through Taunton with ‘Swords drawn, Bayonets fixed, Bands playing and Colours flying’.