Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Freedom Of The Borough For Royal Yeomanry

Tonight there will be an Extraordinary Council Meeting to award the Freedom of the Borough on the Royal Yeomanry. This is a cross-party award voted for by councillors from the Labour and Conservative parties. I am pleased that we are able to honour the Royal Yeomanry in this way. Here is the citation.

"The Royal Yeomanry is the UK’s Reserve Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance regiment. Soldiers serving in the Royal Yeomanry come from all walks of life. The Royal Yeomanry has a prestigious history and has served in every major campaign dating back to the Boer War in a variety of roles. The regiment is the oldest and most senior Territorial Army Cavalry regiment.

The Headquarters (Westminster Dragoons) Squadron, based in Fulham, is one of five squadrons which together with the regimental headquarters and band of highly trained military musicians, make up the Royal Yeomanry with an establishment of over 500 personnel. The soldiers train in their spare time for operational service within the British Army. Their specialist role puts them at the very forefront of modern warfare, using some of the British Army’s latest equipment.

As part of the honour, discussions are ongoing with the Regiment regarding details for a Freedom Parade to be held later in the year.

The conferring of the title Freedom of the Borough is the highest civic distinction that can be bestowed upon individuals or collective bodies in recognition of outstanding service or particular civic association. The overriding principle is that these awards should be made on merit. Merit for awards is defined as:
  • Achievement
  • Exceptional Service
The Royal Yeomanry supported the first deployment to Iraq in 2003, Op TELIC 1, by mobilising two squadrons (nearly 120 people) for overseas service. It was the first mobilisation of a Territorial Army unit for combat operations since the Suez crisis in 1956. In recognition of its service in Iraq in 2003, the Royal Yeomanry is the only Territorial Army unit to be honoured by HM The Queen with the award of the “IRAQ” battle honour. Since Op TELIC 1, members of the Royal Yeomanry have served on almost every tour of Iraq and have recently been supporting the Op HERRICK tours in Afghanistan. To date over 50 members of the regiment have served with the Royal Armoured Corps regiments as well as the Royal Artillery in Afghanistan.

Between November 2010 and January 2011, a further 45 members of the Royal Yeomanry have been mobilised to serve in Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 14. The regiment will also support the subsequent Op HERRICKs in Afghanistan in smaller numbers, perhaps up to 10 people per tour, with another surge for Op HERRICK 18 in 2013 for which a further 40-50 officers and soldiers could be mobilised. Despite training as the UK’s reserve Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear reconnaissance regiment, officers and soldiers of the Royal Yeomanry have operated alongside their regular counterparts in armoured, infantry and surveillance roles.

In recognition of their distinguished military service, it is recommended that the Regiment be bestowed the honour – Freedom of the Borough."

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