Freedom of Warwick for bomb disposal soldiers

FREEDOM of Warwick is due to be granted to a military group for the first time in over 40 years.

Warwick Town Council is putting the final preparations in place to hand over keys to the town to Kineton Barracks, with a freedom ceremony set to be held in May.

Marlborough Barracks is the home to a number of units which make up Kineton Station which is the biggest munitions depot in Europe and trains around 600 servicemen and women in bomb disposal every year.

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On May 18 a Freedom of the Town ceremony will be held at Warwick Castle, which is opening its gates free of charge so everyone can support the occasion, before the soldiers, led by a Band of the Royal Marines, will parade along Church Street to St Mary’s Church, where a special service will be held.

The town council decided to honour the barracks for their support of the town for over 70 years - they always attend the Warwick Remembrance ceremony - and for the soldiers regularly putting their lives on the line to protect us.

The mayor of Warwick Cllr Trudy Offer said: “The town council is delighted to recognise our service men and women at Kineton and I hope the townspeople of Warwick will attend the event demonstrating their support.

“The combination of council, castle and corps working together inevitably means that it will be a memorable day for all.”

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The last time a group was given Freedom of the Town was in the 1960s when the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers received the honour. More recently a Freeman award was given to Dick Dixon for 30 years of work with Warwick Folk Festival.

The commanding officer at Kineton, Lt-Col Simon Hirst of the Royal Logistics Corps said: “Kineton Station, which continues to support operations worldwide, has been part of the wider Warwickshire community for 70 years.

“There have been close links in the past with Warwick both militarily and within the civilian community. It is an honour to have been offered the Freedom of such a prestigious and beautiful town as Warwick.

“We have gladly accepted and will exercise the right to march through the town in the best military fashion on May 18th.”

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Jeremy Wright MP visited the barracks last year and got an insight into the work they do.

On Wednesday he said: “This is very good news, they are a very effective logistics operation. It’s particularly significant today as we’ve heard the very sad news of the six soldiers killed in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

“Freedom of Warwick is one of the many ways we should seek to thank the troops for everything they do.”

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