Hundreds of Eastbourne residents lined the streets to show their support as past and present members of 56 Signal Squadron , Eastbourne’s Army Reserve unit (formerly known as the Territorial Army) paraded through the streets of Eastbourne on Saturday (18th January). The march marked their Freedom of the Borough and the unit’s long association with the town.
The Squadron, which recruits soldiers locally for the Army Reserve, received the Freedom of the Borough in recognition of its distinguished service to Eastbourne in April 2000. The accolade is the highest honour Eastbourne Council can bestow on any person or group, and is traditionally the way a town acknowleges the contribution of the armed forces based in their locality. The freedom, which dates back hundreds of years, is given by the Mayor and allows the military unit to march through the borough’s streets with colours flying and bayonets fixed.
In order to celebrate their historic relationship with the town, 100 soldiers and veterans connected with 56 Signal Squadron marched proudly through the Borough behind the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals, with cheers of support from the local Eastbourne residents who were lining the route.
The Parade formed up in front of the Burlington Hotel and the Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field and the Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Mike Thompson took the General Salute and inspected each of the ranks. At 11.15am, the parade set off from Eastbourne Pier into Terminus Road and continued through the pedestrian precinct to the station where it turned into Grove Road and continued along to the Town Hall, where the Lord-Lieutenant and the Mayor again, took the salute. The Freedom Parade concluded with a civic reception in the Town Hall.
As part of the Future Reserves 2020 Review, it has recently been announced that the Army Reservists based at the Army Reserve Centre in Seaside Eastbourne will be given the opportunity to re-role and train as infantry soldiers, with 3rd Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, the largest infantry reserve regiment in the South East. Although a date has yet to be fixed, this is likely to take place before April 2016.
Follow this link to view the Parade http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-25800930