Oxford URNU Midshipmen attend 40 Commando Freedom Parade

Midshipman Emily Herbert and Midshipman John Hawke of the Oxford URNU had the privilege to attend, as guests of the Mayor, Cllr. Catherine Herbert, the Freedom of the Borough parade by 40 Commando Royal Marines through Taunton which also coincided with Armed Forces Day on Saturday 30 June.

The parade was a reminder of the special relationship that local area forms with their surrounding Armed Forces units as thousands of local people lined the streets in support of the Royal Marines.

Many of them were family and friends of serving or ex-serving personnel, as in the case of Mayor Catherine Herbert, whose husband had a life-long career in the Royal Marines.

Madame Mayor took the salute along with the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Brigadier David Godsal, and the Commanding Officer of 40 Commando, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard.

Despite having to endure their formal No.1 uniform in the scorching heat, 40 Commando put on a disciplined, dignified and impressive show, demonstrating the high level of training that Royal Marines undergo as well as their pride in their own Unit and its long tradition of good service.

Being able to represent the Oxford URNU at the parade was an incredible honour, and reinforced in our minds the immense importance of the Armed Forces to both the nation and its people

Midshipman John Hawke, Oxford URNU

After the parade, which included various armoured vehicles, 40 Commando and many civilians gathered at the war memorial in Vivary Park to remember the fallen.

Midshipman John Hawke, Oxford URNU said, "Being able to represent the Oxford URNU at the parade was an incredible honour, and reinforced in our minds the immense importance of the Armed Forces to both the nation and its people."

Oxford is one of 15 URNUs located across the UK offering opportunities to 750 undergraduates from the country’s leading universities.

The URNU's mission is, "To develop an understanding of the Naval Service in undergraduates, so that those who go into civilian employment are positive advocates thereof and to facilitate a Naval Career for those who choose one."

The URNU is a chance to experience military life without commitment and gain new skills applicable to all walks of life.