Freedom of Huntingdonshire, 17 August 2013
On Saturday 17th August 2013, representatives from RAF Wyton and the World War II Pathfinder Veterans were conferred the Freedom of Huntingdonshire District. The ceremony took place in the Market Square of Huntingdon Town; on completion, RAF Wyton personnel and the Pathfinder veterans exercised the Freedom of Huntingdonshire District.
The Parade comprised of two flights of armed personnel, representing RAF Wyton, the Wyton Area Voluntary Band (WAVB), the 57(R) Sqn Standard Party and a Scroll Bearer Party. The Chair of Huntingdonshire Dictrict Council (HDC), Cllr Barbara Boddington, had invited the Lord Lieutenant (represented by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Derek Bristow OBE) and Commander Joint Forces Intelligence Group (JFIG), Brigadier Nick Davies, to inspect the Parade.
After the inspection was completed, the Chairman formally conferred the Freedom of Huntingdonshire upon RAF Wyton. The Scroll Bearer, WO1 Chris Clarke, was called forward to receive the honour on behalf of RAF Wyton personnel.
The Escort to the Scroll was comprised of Royal Naval and Royal Air Force personnel.
After RAF Wyton received the Scroll, it was the turn of the Pathfinder Veterans. WO James Blackwood was called forward and the Freedom of Huntingdonshire was conferred to the Pathfinder Veterans. The Padres from All Saints and St Mary’s Church gave blessings before the Chairman, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Commander JFIG and Civic dignitaries departed for Pathfinder House, where a second dias was located. The Freedom of the District was then exercised by RAF Wyton and the Pathfinder Veterans.
At Pathfinder House, HQ for Huntingdonshire District Council, representatives of local military associations (Royal Naval Association, Royal Air Force Association, and the Royal British Legion) were waiting, with their branch Standards, for the Chairman and VIPs to arrive. Opposite Pathfinder House is the Wartime Home of the Pathfinder Force, quite appropriate for the Pathfinder Veterans to finish the parade in front of this building, and for RAF Wyton personnel as the Joint Forces Command ensign was also flown between these two buildings.
Once the Chairman and VIPs were in position, the Parade marched through Huntingdon Town Centre and into St Mary’s Street for the ‘Eyes Left’ outside of the council offices.
Once the Pathfinder veterans had passed, the Parade continued into the HDC Car park where they would be joined by Commander JFIG for medal presentations. The personnel involved in the parade were invited to join the Chairman in the Civic Suite for refreshments after the medal presentations had taken place.
The VIPs, Civic party, and representatives of local associations had time for a chat before heading into the Civic Suite for refreshments, and to await the remainder of the personnel involved in the parade to join them.
Click on the first image in this gallery to view other photographs taken during the Freedom of Huntingdonshire ceremony.