Marines from 45 Commando, based at RM Condor, exercised their Freedom of Angus by marching through Arbroath this morning.
The parade of around 350 personnel set off form Victoria Park at 11am, led by the Royal Marines Band Scotland. They arrived at the High Street at 11.10am where they stopped at a saluting dais outside the former Sheriff Court buildings where Angus Provost Alex King took the salute.
During an address to 45 Commando, and the members of the public who had lined the route, Provost King said: “On behalf of the citizens of Angus I welcome you to this Freedom march through the Royal Burgh of Arbroath and the county of Angus. I do so with great pride.
“We are proud of the long history your unit shares with the county and with the people of Angus.
“We are proud of the valour and the resilience of 45 Commando.
“We are proud to have this opportunity to honour you in this, your adopted home town.
“You serve at a time of continuing conflict and unrest, exercising your duty with courage and compassion wherever you are deployed across the globe.
“You are a valued part of our Angus family and are superb ambassadors for the county.
“You have made a unique contribution to the life of this community.”
The parade marked the 45th anniversary of 45 Commando at RM Condor. Following the parade, there was a civic reception at Condor, hosted by the Provost for the unit and invited guests.
The Provost said: “I welcome 45 Commando RM in exercising their freedom to march through the town with flags flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed. 45 Commando is an integral part of the community of Arbroath and it is especially poignant this year, as we celebrate 45 years since the Unit moved here.”
45 Commando RM have been based at Condor near Arbroath since the early 1970s although the base was first constructed as a Fleet Air Arm base in 1938, when it was known as HMS Condor.
Lieutenant Colonel Tony Turner the Commanding Officer of 45 Commando Group said: “This parade marks 45 years of shared history between 45 Commando and Angus. We’ve been privileged over the years to have such great support from the local community of Arbroath and Angus.”
45 Commando were granted the Freedom of Angus in 2003 by the Lord Lieutenant in recognition of the long service and close association the Unit has enjoyed with the area.
The last time the unit exercised its right was back in 2009 on their return from operations in Afghanistan and this week’s parade coincides with the Unit’s celebration marking 45 years of being based in Arbroath.
45 Commando Royal Marines is part of The Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade - the Royal Navy’s amphibious infantry on permanent readiness to deploy across the globe; a core component of the UK’s Joint Rapid Reaction Force. Today the base also houses seven (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery, part of 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.
To become a Royal Marine you need to undergo one of the longest and most physically gruelling infantry training regimes in the world. Training takes 32 weeks for Marines, with Royal Marine officers undertaking 60 weeks.
Training ends with the infamous Commando Course, a 30-mile march across Dartmoor with equipment and rifle which needs to be completed in less than eight hours. Those who are successful earn the right to wear the coveted Green Beret.
To give the public a taste of this physically demanding training, the Royal Marines of 45 Commando are organising an event called Commando Raid on Saturday 24 June.
The event will consist of a gruelling course made up of 16 obstacles, covering 6.4 miles and is being organised by 45 Commando to raise money for the Woodlands Garden Trust and the Royal Marines Charity.