Royal Marine reservists stage parade to mark freedom of the borough award

Published: Friday 20th January 17

Volunteers who serve their country in a locally-based Royal Marines Reserve unit will parade through Wandsworth town centre next week as part of the celebrations to mark being awarded the Freedom of the Borough.

Members of the Royal Marines Reserve (City of London), whose headquarters are in Merton Road in Southfields will be conferred with the honour on Saturday, January 28 in celebration of their links with Wandsworth.

To mark the occasion, 160 reservists, veterans and cadets will take part in a special parade, accompanied by the Band of the Royal Marines, starting at Wandsworth Town station and passing along York Road and into Fairfield Street en-route to Wandsworth Town Hall where they will be formally offered the Freedom of the Borough.

The Band of the Royal Marines will head the parade

Well wishers are expected to line the parade route to cheer on the Royal Marines and thank them for their service on behalf of their country.

The Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Richard Field said the unit fully deserved to receive the civic honour.

He added: “This award pays tribute to the bravery and dedication of these volunteers who have served their nation with great distinction as part of this famous and historic Royal Naval force. We are immensely proud to be associated with them.”

The unit’s commanding officer Lt Col Ed Moorhouse said: “It is a great privilege that has been bestowed upon the Royal Marines Reserve City of London by the granting and exercising of the Freedom of the Borough of Wandsworth. Since arriving in the borough in 2011, we have had unfaltering support from the borough council and its local residents. We are hugely proud of being part of Wandsworth. 

Troops from Southfields-based RMR City of London at the Lord Mayor's Show

“The Royal Marines Reserves is an integral part of the Royal Marines, the nation’s at-readiness force.  The RMR is a multi-faceted reserve providing 3 Commando Brigade, the Fleet and wider Defence with commando trained and specialist Royal Marines. They are tightly bonded with their regular counterparts, completing the same gruelling commando course and serving on the same operations and training exercises. 

“Over the last five years ranks from RMR City of London have deployed to the Middle East and in support of the Fleet on operations and have trained from the jungles of Central America to the Arctic Circle. An integrated and dynamic reserve force that supports and complements both the regular Royal Marines and Royal Navy, they remain ready to meet the complex operational and environmental challenges of the 21st Century.”

The Royal Marines have just celebrated their 352nd anniversary, having been formed in 1664 during the reign of King Charles II. Since then marines have played a vital role in the defence of the nation.

Over the centuries the Corps has seen action during the Battle of Trafalgar, the capture of Gibraltar, both World Wars, including a pivotal role in the Normandy Landings on D-Day, and the Falklands conflict. More recently it has served in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and taken part in numerous humanitarian missions including efforts to eradicate the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
Its volunteers are not just part-time soldiers, but fully trained elite Commandos, who wear with pride the famous green beret, as did their founding fathers in World War Two.

Volunteers were first recruited to The City of London reserve unit in November 1948 and in June 2011 its headquarters moved to Southfields. The unit recruits from all over London, including Wandsworth, southern England and East Anglia.

The unit will become the third from the country’s armed forces to have received the Freedom of the Borough in recent years. The 2nd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) received it in 2011 while another reserve unit, the London Regiment, based in Clapham Junction, was accorded the honour in 1992.

Next Saturday’s parade is due to commence at 2.40pm and will take about ten minutes to complete. It will involve some temporary road closures of the parade route and of side streets along it, while through traffic using the Wandsworth one-way system may also experience slight delays.

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Recent comments

This is a significant and valued honour for the Royal Marines and the wider Corps family of Royal Marines' relatives and friends. It recognises the Corps's continuing contribution to its devotion to national security as well as its determination to contribute to its civic responsibilities.
Paddy Dunn

21 January 2017