People from far and wide watched proudly as troops exercised their right to march through the streets of Purbeck on 24 June.
In 2010, Purbeck District Council was honoured to present the Freedom of the District of Purbeck to the Armour Centre and to the Old Boys’ Association. This means that the garrison has the right to march through the district.
The Household Cavalry Band led the procession, followed by armoured vehicles including the Panther, Scimitar, Jackal, Foxhound and Warrior, as well as an armoured 1920 Mark 1 Rolls Royce.
Also on parade were three horses, Fortress, Darcy and Empress, loaned from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment based in London.
The troops marched from south of the River Frome into the centre of Wareham and came to a halt outside the town hall.
After a general salute, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Chairman of Purbeck District Council and Commander of the Armour Centre were invited to inspect the soldiers and the Old Boys of the Junior Leaders’ Regiment.
Speeches followed before the parade continued through North Street.
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Mr Angus Campbell, said: “Today’s event is an opportunity to celebrate and respect the service and sacrifice of our forces, both past and present.
“In my position, I have the opportunity to work with the regular forces, the reserves and the cadets of all services and they never cease to impress me with their dedication, determination and skill.
“Your parade is a splendid opportunity to celebrate and respect the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women both past and present.”
Councillor Bill Trite, Chairman of Purbeck District Council, said: “Our Armed Forces based at Bovington and Lulworth discharge a crucial function: their part in ensuring this nation’s safety and freedom, gained through so much sacrifice and suffering.
“We take this opportunity to express our thanks to them and we extend to them our profound gratitude for their service and dedication over the last hundred years.
“We also welcome the involvement of our Armed Forces in the economic, cultural and social life of our district. They play a full and active part in our community, especially in those villages close to the military camps, and they make a major contribution to the prosperity of local business and visitors attractions. And in the related Tank Museum we have a truly outstanding tourist destination – the largest, the most comprehensive and the most renowned of its kind in the world.
Councillor Trite concluded: “The association between the district council and the military at Bovington and Lulworth is a long and close one. I thank them for all they do, and long may those close ties continue.”
Colonel Gordon Judd, Commander of the Armour Centre said, “We are delighted to participate and involve ourselves in the economic, cultural and social life of Purbeck and Dorset in general. The county has always had strong links with the military, both regular and reserve, and these are as strong today as they have always been.”
The Freedom of the District is one of the highest honours a local authority can confer. The Armour Centre is the British Army’s centre of excellence for all armoured vehicle training for individual service personnel and crews. The parade coincided with the centenary of the Armour Centre and preceded Armed Forces Day.