On Sunday 18th May 2014, the ship’s company of HMS Dragon, a Type 45 Destroyer, received the Freedom of the City of Cardiff. Amongst the invited guests was the Chairman of Cardiff Branch, Shipmate Andrew Clark.
This wasn’t the first time that the Chairman had attended a Freedom of the City Parade, as the Band of HM Royal Marines led the parade, Andrew remembered taking part in 1996 when HMS Cardiff received the same honour.
Cardiff held special memories for Andrew, he said that he ‘liked the place so much’ that he stayed and ‘settled here when I left the mob’, and of course, joined the Royal Naval Association.
On completion of the ceremony, Cardiff RNA invited Dragon’s CO, Captain Rex Cox, and members of the ship’s company to the City Arms pub. Cardiff RNA have a dedicated corner of the pub, decorated with RN memorabilia (where the Branch holds a ‘Beano’ every other Wednesday) for ‘hospitality’ — and a chance to spin a few dits no doubt!
Cardiff Branch and Dragon’s ship’s company had met earlier in the week when Branch members had been invited onboard for a cocktail party. Captain Cox was delighted to visit the Branch’s meeting place and kindly ‘dedicated’ the corner for the ship, and promised to supply Cardiff Branch with more memorabilia of their visit to add to the wall.
S/M Clark said it had been a ‘beautiful day’, clearly the success comes from the close ties the RNA has with our serving members of the Naval Services, a bond that reminds all shipmates of our motto…Once Navy, Always Navy. BZ Cardiff Branch.
For more details of HMS Dragon’s Freedom of the City of Cardiff, see the RN Website article at: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2014/may/09/140509-dragon-cardiff or for other information on the visit to Cardiff, see the MOD site at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hms-dragon-arrives-in-cardiff