Carver Barracks soldiers given freedom of London

Carver Barracks in Lord Mayor's Parade

Carver Barracks in Lord Mayor's Parade - Credit: Archant

Wimbish bomb disposal experts marched in The Lord Mayor’s Parade in London on Saturday, November 14, taking part in one of the longest and grandest processions in the world.

Carver Barracks in Lord Mayor's Parade

Carver Barracks in Lord Mayor's Parade - Credit: Archant

On the day, they were awarded the freedom of the City.

One of the first duties of the new Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Jeffery Mountevans, was to award 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) the title of Privileged Regiment. This was given in recognition of the regiment’s services and strong links to the city. It means the regiment is entitled to march through London with drums beating and bayonets fixed.

The Lord Mayor inspected the soldiers on parade who had formed a guard of honour outside Mansion House.

He then presented the regiment’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hawkins MBE, with the Regiment’s Freedom Scroll granting them their Privileged status.

Carver Barracks in Lord Mayor's Parade

Carver Barracks in Lord Mayor's Parade - Credit: Archant

After this, army personnel led the parade through the city streets. Music was provided by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers and the Nottinghamshire Band of the Royal Engineers.

Lieutenant Colonel Hawkins said: “It was a great honour for 101 Engineer Regiment to receive Privileged status from the Lord Mayor and to provide the guard of honour at the Lord Mayor’s Show. Both our regular and reserve elements were represented this year and they all commented on the amazing atmosphere and how inspiring the crowds were.”

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The regiment was formed in 1860 in Knightsbridge. Its emblem of a black cat is taken from the 56th London Division flash worn during the Second World War. It represents Tommy, Dick Whittington’s cat.

The regiment’s regular headquarters and squadrons are based at Carver Barracks, Wimbish, with Army Reserve squadrons in Catford and Tunbridge Wells.

This year has seen the regiment commemorate 75 years of bomb disposal. Officially formed in October 1940, the Royal Engineers bomb disposal units played an important role in the Second World War. Since then, bomb disposal teams including 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) have deployed all around the world including Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

A service honouring all those who serve and continue to serve in bomb disposal and training teams was held at St Paul’s Cathedral last month.

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