The 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery has been given the Freedom of the City award – the highest honour that Manchester can bestow.
The Freedom of the City award, which is only bestowed on very rare occasions, is being given for its extensive and valuable service to Manchester for over 216 years.
Previous recipients of the honour include broadcaster Tony Wilson, the GB Olympic and Paralympic Cycling Team, Sir Bobby Charlton, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital (Volunteers), Professor Sir Andre Geim and Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov.
The decision to award the Freedom of the City to the 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery was moved by the Lord Mayor at a Special Meeting on 25 November 2020 at the Town Hall.
The 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery has served in the Boer War, WW1, Gallipoli, Sinai and, on the Western Front since its formation over 216 years ago.
Following the prestigious award ceremony, the 209 will march through the city with colours flying, drums beating, and bayonets fixed.
The public will have the rare opportunity to watch them in action, as the parade departs from St Peter’s Square past the Cenotaph, then onto Princess Street, then Cross Street, onto St Mary’s Gate, Deansgate, Peter Street and finally left back to its starting point.
There will be barriers in place so that the parade can be enjoyed safely and people are encouraged to follow the parade and to celebrate alongside the 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery.
Following a short Service of Blessings performed by Regimental Padre Rev. M.W. Johnstone CF. and an inspection of the Regiment, the Chief Executive Joanne Roney OBE will read the Resolution of Council conferring the Honorary Freedom of the City upon 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery.
Speaking on the decision to bestow the award on the 209, the Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Tommy Judge said: “It is a great privilege to award the 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery the Freedom of Manchester.
“I would like to congratulate and thank them for their hard work and commitment to the people of Manchester over such a long period of time.
“The regiment has a long and illustrious history with the city. the Lord Mayor of Manchester Tommy Judge said: “The significance of their work is integral to the history and indeed, the future of Manchester.
“It is a very proud moment as Mayor, and as an ex-serviceman to honour the 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery and, to watch the parade.
Lieutenant Colonel Taylor-Jane Fox added, “209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery are part of history today. Being awarded the Freedom of the City of Manchester is a great honour; to have the Battery written into the history books of this great city is a huge privilege and every soldier on parade is proud to be part of this significant event.”
The current 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery continues to recruit and train Manchester citizens in readiness for the defence of the country at home and abroad.
The ceremony will be attended by The Lord Mayor Councillor Tommy Judge, accompanied by the Lady Mayoress, Carole Judge; the Leader of the City Council, Sir Richard Leese; the Chief Executive of the City Council Joanne Roney OBE; the Master Gunner St James’s Park, Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory KBE CB; Honorary Colonel, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery, Brigadier Bill Kingdon; and Commanding Officer, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery, Lieutenant Colonel Taylor-Jayne-Fox.
Feature image – 209 Battery 103 Regt RA via Facebook