The crew of HMS Montrose exercised their right to march through the streets of Montrose last night for only the second time in 12 years.
Crowds of townsfolk lined the streets to see the impressive parade.
The Freedom of Angus was conferred on the commanding officer and ship’s company in 2002 in recognition of their long and close association with the people of Angus.
With bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying, the ship’s company, led by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Scotland, started their parade at the former swimming pool on the Mall, going down Murray Street.
The company then exercised the right granted to them as freemen and marched the full length of Montrose High Street yesterday (Wednesday, July 2) and afterwards, marched down George Street.
The Provost of Angus, Councillor Helen Oswald, inspected the guard of honour and the ship’s company in the town centre, after which she took the salute as the ship’s company passed through the High Street.
The VIP party also included the Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Georgiana Osborne, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland, Captain Chris Smith RN, and the commanding officer of HMS Montrose, Commander James Parkin RN.
They were then guests of Angus Council at a civic reception afterwards in Montrose Town Hall.
Commander Parkin said: “This visit has been a long time in the planning and we couldn’t be more delighted to finally bring HMS Montrose back to Montrose for only the fourth time in her 20 years’ service with the Royal Navy,”
Mrs Oswald, said: “The town is rightly proud of its association with HMS Montrose and has enjoyed, and I am sure will continue to enjoy, an excellent relationship with the ship which bears its name.
“The Freedom Scroll states that the Freedom of Angus is granted ‘In recognition of the long and close association between the ship’s company and the people of Angus and the contribution made by them to the educational and social well-being of our community’. These may be formal words but they are a sincere record of our appreciation.”
The ship and its crew are on a six day home visit to Montrose.
See next week’s Review for a two page feature on what the ship and its crew have been getting up to their visit to the town.