Royal Marines brought the heart of Arbroath to a standstill today as they celebrated a proud four-and-a-half-decade association with the Scottish fishing port.
Residents of the Angus town applauded the marines of 45 Commando, the RM Band and the commando gunners of 29 Regiment RA as they marched through the town centre.
Pictures: LPhot Will Haigh, FRPU North
THAT’S something you don’t often see on the streets of a provincial town.
Yes, how refreshing it is to see DVDs and Blu-Rays advertised without a grocer’s apostrophe…
The sight of the Band of HM Royal Marines Scotland leading the 350 green berets of 45 Commando and their associated Army units through the granite-flanked streets of Arbroath isn’t half bad too…
It is 45 years since 45 Commando moved into the former naval air base at Condor on the edge of the coastal town (pop. 23,902) – and that warranted a civic celebration.
As it’s a relatively small town, the march to and from the High Street from Victoria Park only took about ten minutes each way.
In between, there was a salute for the Provost Angus Provost Alex King who inspected the band and marchers and thanked them for their contributions to peace and stability on the world stage – and for playing a key role in community life in this part of Scotland, which granted the marines their highest civic honour, Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Arbroath and the county of Angus, in 2003.
Provost King told the massed ranks – including army gunners of 7 (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery, part of 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery – that their ‘adopted town’ was proud of them.
“We are proud of the valour and the resilience of 45 Commando,” he said.
“You serve at a time of continuing conflict and unrest, exercising your duty with courage and compassion wherever you are deployed across the globe.
“You are a valued part of our Angus family and are superb ambassadors for the county.”
The parade brought the town – famous the world over for its smoked haddock (Arbroath smokies) – to a standstill as shoppers and the general public put their usual routines on hold, stood several deep on the pavements and applauded those marching through their streets for the first time since 2009.
Lt Col Tony Turner, 45 Commando’s CO said over the four and a half decades the town and the marines unit had become inextricable bound.
“This parade marks 45 years of shared history between 45 Commando and Angus,” he added.
“We’ve been privileged over the years to have such great support from the local community of Arbroath and Angus.”
“That shared history is what, I think, makes our organisation and our connection to Arbroath so unique. It is a very special place for 45 Commando.”
Following the march the marines returned to the base – established by the Fleet Air Arm in 1938 – for a civic reception hosted by Provost King.