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Freedom salute to the Territorials

PUBLISHED: 14:56 04 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:39 25 August 2010

A TERRITORIAL Army squadron has become the third recipients of the key to the borough in 44 years.

A TERRITORIAL Army squadron has become the third recipients of the key to the borough in 44 years.

The 265 (Kent and County of London Yeomanry) Support Squadron (Sharpshooters), whose headquarters are in Bexleyheath, were given the freedom of Bexley, after a unanimous decision by councillors last Wednesday.

Territorials from the unit and its predecessors have served in both world wars and on operations in many parts of the world, including Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Through its attachment to the Royal Corps of Signals, the unit provides the Army with communications and information technology around the world. Mayor of Bexley Bernard Clewes said: "I am delighted that this honour has now been made official.

"There was no doubt in my mind that members would join together to recognise the strong bond the council shares with members of the squadron.

"It is at this time especially, when so many of our young men and women are involved in combat so far away from home, that our minds turn to our armed services. We are privileged to have such an established and esteemed unit at the very heart of our borough."

The unit will now be presented with a certificate recording the granting of the Freedom of the Borough at the council's annual reception on May 22.

They will have the "right, privilege, honour and distinction" of marching through the streets of the borough on all ceremonial occasions "with colours flying, bands playing and drums beating".

The honour has been awarded just twice before in the 44 years since the council came into existence. The first was to former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and then to the 17th Depot Regiment Royal Artillery, now based in Kent.

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