RAF Honington awarded Freedom of Thetford
PUBLISHED: 14:15 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:34 17 May 2019
RAF Honington will be on parade in Thetford next month after being awarded the Freedom of the Town.
RAF Honington in Suffolk will be on parade in Thetford next month after being awarded the Freedom of the Town.
More than 130 personnel will march through the town centre, led by the band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, before Mayor of Thetford Councillor Brenda Canham on June 9.
The Freedom of the Town is an ancient sign of trust given by a town to nearby military organisations, allowing them to march through with drums beating, flags flying and bayonets fixed.
It is the first time the town has granted the honour to any military unit.
Station Commander Group Captain Matt Radnall said: "We are delighted and immensely grateful that Thetford has seen fit to honour the serving community at RAF Honington with the Freedom of the Town.
"While many Station personnel have participated in some form of Freedom parade at some stage in their career, it is very rare to exercise such a privilege for the very first time in any town.
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"It is made all the more significant as the Station enjoys such close ties with Thetford, which has become home for many of our former and currently serving members that have chosen to settle there."
The Freedom was originally granted by former mayor Roy Brame in May 2018, however Councillor Brenda Canham has now taken up office so will present the Title Deed at the parade.
Cllr Canham said: "It is an honour and a pleasure for me to be the Mayor that presents the Freedom to RAF Honington, and I'm sure it will be a wonderful event for the town."
RAF Honington was founded in 1937 and during the Second World War was home to the United States 8th Army Air Force and the Advanced Air Depot.
In 1994 it became the home of the RAF Regiment and today it is the home of RAF Force Protection, which is responsible for protecting the RAF at home and abroad.
More than 1,500 service personnel, civil servants and contractors work there.
It provides training for the RAF Regiment and the wider RAF, specialising in protection of personnel and assets.
RAF Honington is home to two frontline RAF Regiment field squadrons and several operational and specialist units, including a specialist RAF Police Wing.