Volunteer heroes get freedom of town

TOWN chiefs have honoured servicemen currently in Iraq and Afghanistan by granting them freedom of entry to the borough allowing them to march through Ipswich.

TOWN chiefs have honoured servicemen currently in Iraq and Afghanistan by granting them freedom of entry to the borough allowing them to march through Ipswich.

At a meeting of Ipswich Borough council, town leaders rubberstamped plans to grant the honour to the 202 (Ipswich) Transport Squadron RLC Territorial Army unit.

The move will coincide with their return from active duty and the welcome home parade in Ipswich on Sunday, December 7.

Speaking at the meeting Steven Wells, portfolio holder for housing at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “These are people who are volunteers in every respect.

“They are prepared to sacrifice everything for their community.

“Without the volunteers in the part time forces, our troops would struggle to be an effective fighting force.

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“Their bravery and sacrifice truly is making a difference in many theatres and I am convinced the same will be said about 202 in Iraq.

“The freedom of entry is an opportunity to tell all our sons and daughters from Ipswich who are serving that whatever the political arguments, whatever our own personal thoughts on different campaign, you have our unwavering support and we salute your willingness to serve, your bravery and all your sacrifices.”

The Freedom of Entry to the Borough of Ipswich has in the past been granted to HMS Ganges, The Royal Anglian Regiment (as successor to the Suffolk Regiment); The Royal Army Medical Corps and more recently to HMS Grafton and 4 Regiment Army Air Corps.

Of these, HMS Ganges and The Royal Army Medical Corps have been disbanded, and HMS Grafton has been decommissioned, leaving only two active freedoms applicable.

The effect of granting Freedom of Entry gives the organisation the right to march through the town with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying.

Is enough done to honour serving soldiers? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk