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By Kevin Unitt 21/05 Updated: 23/05 08:17
THOUSANDS of well-wishers turned out for a special ceremony at Warwick Castle as hero soldiers were given the freedom of the town.
A total of 200 servicemen and woman from Warwickshire’s Kineton Station collected the keys to the town on Friday (May 18) and 2,000 free tickets – in the form of wristbands – were dished out to local people to witness the rare occasion in the castle courtyard.
The commemoration, between 11am and 1pm, included a parade led by the Band of the Royal Marines from Pageant Field to the courtyard, where medals were presented to the soldiers by town mayor coun Trudy Offer.
The parade then left the castle through the Barbican and continued through the streets of Warwick, with Bayonets fixed and colours flying according to tradition, to the war memorial and then on for a special service at St Mary’s Church.
Lieutenant Colonel Hirst said: “This is a tremendous honour for the base and we greatly appreciate the support we receive from our local community.
“A lot of work has gone into this event and we hope that the people of Warwick enjoyed coming out to see the parade as much as we enjoyed our part in it.”
Tim Harrison-Jones, Warwick Castle general manager said the event had been “history in the making” and a great way to demonstrate people's “appreciation and respect for those who face danger to protect us.”
Kineton Station is the largest munitions depot in Europe and trains up to 600 bomb disposal experts each year.
Its main stated aim is to support immediate operations, currently in Afghanistan, by getting the right ammunition in the right condition and quantity, issued on time.
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