The Royal Marines received the Freedom of the City of Birmingham during a special ceremony in Victoria Square today (24 February).
Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Anne Underwood, presented the honour to Major General Charlie Stickland, Commandant General of the Royal Marines, before the unit paraded through the city centre.
The Royal Marines are the 16th armed forces unit to receive the Freedom of the City, which means that they can “march with drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and bayonets fixed.”
The ceremony was followed by a parade along Waterloo Street and Temple Row to the Cathedral, then along Colmore Row back into Victoria Square.
Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Anne Underwood, said: “The City is very proud to honour the Royal Marines and recognise their very strong links to Birmingham by bestowing upon the Corps the Freedom of the City. It was great to that so many people came along to watch the parade and joined in the celebrations.”
Birmingham’s strong connections with the Royal Marines go back over 100 years – with city-born Sergeant Norman Finch receiving the Victoria Cross in 1918 after a raid on Zeebrugge.
The Royal Marines Reserves have had a Birmingham detachment since 1957, which is currently based at HMS Forward in Bordesley Green.
Major General Charlie Stickland OBE, CGRM (Commandant General Royal Marines) said: “It is a real privilege for the Royal Marines to be given the Freedom of the City of Birmingham. This honour, the city’s highest, demonstrates the strong and enduring relationship between the Royal Marines and Birmingham. I would like to thank Birmingham and the city council for bestowing the Freedom of the City on the Royal Marines, granting us the privilege to march through the city with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed. It truly is a special honour.”