Freedom of Aylesbury

  |  Published: May 23rd 2014

RAF Halton will exercise its right to the Freedom of Aylesbury on 1 Jun 14 at 1345 hrs.  Her Majesty the Queen’s Colour for RAF Halton will be paraded and supported by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.  The Parade will be reviewed by the Mayor of Aylesbury, and a Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will fly past at 1400 hrs

On completion of the Reviewing Ceremony, RAF Halton will ‘exercise it’s right’ and march through the Town with ‘swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and colours flying.  The Parade will march from the County Building through Market Square to Market Street where it will halt, reform and return to Walton Street, paying compliments to the Reviewing Officer at the Dais at Market Square.

Freedom parades are an ancient honour granted to martial organizations, allowing them the privilege to march into the city.  This honour dates back to ancient Rome which regarded the boundary of the city, as sacred. Magistrates and generals were forbidden from entering it, and resigned their powers of command immediately upon crossing it.  An exception was made for victory celebrations where soldiers also lost their status when entering, becoming citizens.  Weapons were also banned inside the boundary of the city for religious and traditional reasons.

Similar laws were passed by other European cities throughout the Medieval era, to protect public security and civic rights, even against their own king's troops.  As a result, soldiers would be forced to camp outside the walls of the city during the winter months.  The Freedom Parade was an honour granted only to troops which had earned the trust of the local populace, either through some valiant action or simply by being a familiar presence.  Today, martial Freedom of the City is an entirely ceremonial honour, usually bestowed upon a unit with historic ties to the area, as a token of appreciation for their long and dedicated service.  The awarding of the Freedom is often accompanied by a celebratory parade through the City.

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