Freedom of Huntingdon Parade
On Sunday, 26th June 2016, a crowd of hundreds greeted Servicemen and women from RAF Wyton as the Station exercised its right to march through the streets of Huntingdon.
Under the direction of Parade Cdr, Sqn Ldr Martin Larwood-Hughes, the parade, consisting of three flights and the RAF Wyton Area Voluntary Band, marched on to Market Hill where it assembled in front of the Town Hall. The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, accompanied by the Mayor of Huntingdon and CO RAF Wyton, then inspected the parade, taking the opportunity to speak to both Servicemen and women, along with members of the Air Training Corps.
Following a speech by the Mayor of Huntingdon, and a reply from CO RAF Wyton, the Town and Station chaplains blessed the parade. This was followed by a flypast from a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire. ‘With bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and the Wyton Area Voluntary Band playing’, RAF Wyton then exercised its right of Freedom of Huntingdon by marching down the High Street. Led by Scroll Bearer, WO Mark Giddings and the Scroll Bearing Party; CPO John Layton-Matthews and FS John Williams, the parade performed a General Salute at the junction to St Benedict’s Court, before continuing along the High Street and into St Mary’s Street, where the parade was brought to a halt outside Pathfinder House, and dismissed.
Speaking after the parade, CO RAF Wyton, Wg Cdr Phil Owen said: “It was a great honour for me, and my personnel to parade in Huntingdon, and to exercise the right of freedom that the people of Huntingdon have bestowed upon us to march through the town. The Freedom of Huntingdon signifies the long and close relationship between the station and the people of Huntingdon, and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the community for continuing to make the Servicemen and women of Royal Air Force Wyton feel welcome in the town and surrounding area.”
On 7th September 1955, the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Huntingdon conferred the Freedom of Huntingdon on the Officer Commanding, and the Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Airmen and Airwomen of Royal Air Force Station Wyton.
“We, the Corporation of Huntingdon wish to record our appreciation of the friendship of members of the Royal Air Force stationed at Wyton, our affection for them, our pride in their achievements, and the long and honourable record of the Station.”
“On the occasion of the seven hundred and fiftieth commemoration of the granting of the Royal Charter of Huntingdon by King John on the 7th August 1205, we do hereby confer in perpetuity upon Royal Air Force Station Wyton the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of Huntingdon on all ceremonial occasions with bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and bands playing.”