Proud troops and a military band paraded past shoppers on Sheffield’s busy streets when an Army regiment was presented with the city’s highest honour.
More than 40 soldiers marched from Barkers Pool to the Peace Gardens, and then on to Sheffield Cathedral, as part of a ceremony to hand the Freedom of the City to the 64 (City of Sheffield) Signal Squadron.
Following a recent reorganisation of the Army Reserves, its 38th Signal Regiment will be removed from the Army’s Order of Battle next August.
The regiment held the Freedom of the City - an honour which will transfer to the signal squadron, based at Manor Top.
Sheffield’s Lord Mayor, Coun Peter Rippon, inspected the troops in the Peace Gardens before the parade set off for the cathedral, where a special service was held.
The parade was led by the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps.
“The Freedom of the City entitles the unit to enter the city with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed,” said Coun Rippon.
“Over the years the regiment has been part of the fabric of our community, be it facilitating remembrance commemorations, raising money for charities in our busy streets or recruiting new soldiers at the various summer shows in and around Sheffield.
“They are around us every day.”
He continued: “Sheffield has been the spiritual home of the regiment for many years - it seems appropriate to grant the squadron the same honour, to maintain the close relationship and continue the strong connection.”
Coun Rippon also presented Corporal Andrew Priest - a member of the 38th Signal Regiment - with a medal for serving in Afghanistan.
The regiment’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Quinn, said it was a ‘great honour’ for the division.
“It is our final formal parade ending a 47-year association with the city of Sheffield,” he said.
“This is an important occasion - it cements the bond between the military and the civilian population.
“We must look to the future. The Royal Signals will continue to have a strong presence in Sheffield with the 64 Signal Squadron based at Manor Top.
“The future of the squadron looks very good.”
As well as the military, the Freedom of the City is also held by famous Sheffield names including Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sebastian Coe.