RNAS Culdrose to mark Freedom of Helston 60th anniversary

2018 marks 60 years since HMS Seahwak was granted the honour of the ‘Freedom of Helston’. To celebrate the occasion, personnel from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose are preparing for their annual parade through the streets of the historic market town.

In 1958 the Borough of Helston granted HMS Seahawk the prestigious privilege of The Freedom of Helston; wherein a City or Town allows a Unit 'Freedom to enter with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and Colours flying'.

On Thursday 20th September 2018 at 10.50am, Naval personnel from RNAS Culdrose will exercise their right to march freely through the streets of Helston, the town they have been operating in for over 70 years, with their swords drawn and bayonets fixed. A formal ceremony and inspection will be held at Trengrouse Way Car Park at 10.10am.

Following the path that platoons from HMS Seahawk first took 60 years ago, personnel from RNAS Culdrose will depart from Trengrouse Way Car Park, marching through Meneage Street and Coinagehall Street before congregating at the Furry Way Roundabout where the parade will be dismissed.

During the parade the Mayor of Helston, Councillor John Martin, will take the Salute accompanied by the Commanding Officer of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose and members of the Town Council.

We have a very special connection with the town, so it’s nice to show that relationship by seeing our sailors marching freely through Helston. Seeing the interaction with the townsfolk, with local families and children, not just those of service personnel

Commander Jason Phillips, Executive Officer Commander of RNAS Culdrose

The Freedom of Helston is a historic honour which dates back to the time when fortress walls were necessary to protect the inhabitants of the Town from the incursions of outlaw bands and the attacks of feudal Lords.

Bodies of armed men were refused entry into the Town unless the citizens were confident that they meant no harm. Therefore, the granting of permission for a formed body of armed men, such as a platoon of Naval personnel, to enter a Town became a mark of the trust and confidence in which that body was held by the citizens of the Town.

To be granted freedom of a Town or City is the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon a Unit within the Armed Forces.

Commander Jason Phillips, Executive Officer Commander of RNAS Culdrose believes that maintaining the tradition is important to ongoing relations between residents of Helston and RNAS Culdrose personnel.

Cdr Phillips said, “We have a very special connection with the town, so it’s nice to show that relationship by seeing our sailors marching freely through Helston. Seeing the interaction with the townsfolk, with local families and children, not just those of service personnel.

"The parade is a way of re-echoing links of support with the town. And, while we do this throughout the year, both supporting the town and receiving support from the town, the Freedom of Helston provides a special opportunity to display this relationship to the public; which is particularly poignant on this 60th anniversary.”

Members of the public are encouraged to join RNAS Culdrose personnel on Thursday 20th September to take part in the celebration of the Freedom of Helston and, to show continued support for the ongoing relationship between Helston’s Royal Naval personnel and local residents.