Manchester to award Freedom of the City to a Manchester regiment- only the sixth time the award has been bestowed since the millennium

On Saturday 30 October 2021 the 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery will be awarded the Freedom of the City, the highest honour Manchester can bestow.

The ceremony to bestow the Honorary Freedom will take place in St Peter’s Square at 11 am. 

The 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery have been awarded the Freedom of the City because of their extensive and valuable service to Manchester for over 216 years.  

After the ceremony, the public will have the rare opportunity to watch the 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery honour the city and the momentous occasion by marching through the city centre with colours flying, drums beating, and bayonets fixed.   

The parade will depart 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 St Peter's Square. 

There will be barriers in place so that the parade can be enjoyed safely and, the public are encouraged to follow the parade and to celebrate alongside the 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Battery, 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery.  

The Freedom of the City has only been awarded six times this millennium - to The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2006), broadcaster Tony Wilson (2007), Sir Bobby Charlton (2008), the GB Olympic and Paralympic Cycling Team (2008), 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital (Volunteers) (2011) and Professor Sir Andre Geim and Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov (2013) and, is a rare occurrence.  

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 been in active service for some 216 years, serving in the Boer War, WW1, Gallipoli, Sinai and, on the Western Front.  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 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 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 said:

"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 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. 

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.  

 

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