Birmingham reserves celebrate HMS Forward’s 20th birthday

Sailors, Royal Marines and Cadets stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the punishing July heat as the West Midlands Naval Reserve unit celebrated 20th birthday Ceremonial Divisions.

Reserve and regular personnel, the Royal Marines Band plus more than 100 Sea and Royal Marines Cadets drawn from across the West Midlands and environs paraded for John Crabtree, Lord Lieutenant of the county, as well as the Lord Mayor of Birmingham Mohammed Azim and the Mayors of Solihull (Stuart Davis) and Wolverhampton (Claire Darke), and the RN’s Regional Commander Brig Jock Fraser, joining friends and families at the unit’s Tilton Road home just east of the city centre.

The Royal Navy continues to enjoy outstanding support from the people of the West Midlands and it was a real pleasure to meet so many guests representing the public that we serve

Brigadier Jock Fraser RM

Despite being 75 miles from the sea, Forward has more than 150 Maritime Reservists – both RN and RM – on its books, with the goal of training them to support and serve side-by-side with their regular counterparts on ships or land operations, and also to offer medical training and experience.

“HMS Forward sits at the heart of the naval family in the West Midlands and it was fantastic to see so many Sea Cadets participating in the parade.

“The Royal Navy continues to enjoy outstanding support from the people of the West Midlands and it was a real pleasure to meet so many guests representing the public that we serve,” said Brig Fraser.

The RN’s bonds with the region will be cemented next month when the Freedom of the City of Wolverhampton is bestowed on Forward and, much further down the line, the fourth Type 26 frigate will be named HMS Birmingham.