The Royal Regiment of Scotland received the Freedom of the City of Stirling on Saturday, 10 March, in recognition of their strong links with the area.
Members of the regiment marched from Stirling Castle to Stirling Council’s Old Viewforth offices as part of their ‘Freedom of the City Parade’.
The regiment was awarded the civic honour in recognition of their services and strong links to the Stirling area and are now entitled to enter Stirling ‘with drums beating, colours flying, and bayonets fixed’.
Awarding the ‘freedom of the city’ is an age-old tradition dating back to the laws of ancient Rome that made it a capital offence for Roman legions to enter the city in formation or with weapons without permission. It was meant to ensure that ambitious generals did not mount a military coup against the Senate.
The parade began at Stirling Castle at 1100hrs and was led by a combined military and pipe band.
Gillian Macdonald, Executive Manager of Stirling Castle, said:
We were proud to support this historic accolade for the servicemen and women of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, many of whom have close links to the area, by starting the parade at the castle.
It was fantastic to see so many people come out to view the parade. It was a great day for Stirling and all those associated with the Armed Forces.
The parade then made its way down to the Albert Halls and thereafter to Old Viewforth.
The soldiers on parade, and the colours flying, were from the 7th battalion, a Territorial Army battalion based across the north of Scotland, including Stirling.
It was the first time that any of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland colours have been paraded since they were presented by Her Majesty The Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in July 2011.
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, one of the antecedent regiments that were merged to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland on 28 March 2006, still have their home headquarters in Stirling Castle and were given the Freedom of the City in 1947.
Spokesman for the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Major James Anderson, said:
It is a great honour to participate in this parade that reaffirms the traditional links between Stirling and Scotland’s infantry. This is particularly important at a time when many of our soldiers remain deployed on operations in Afghanistan and the drive to recruit more soldiers into exciting careers in the Territorial Army is gathering pace.
I would like to thank the people of Stirling for their heartfelt welcome and positive support which has made it a hugely memorable day for all of the soldiers marching.
Provost Fergus Wood commented:
It was great day for the people of Stirling to come out and cheer on the Royal Regiment of Scotland, kitted out in their full regalia and marching through our historic city.
We are very proud that Stirling bestowed this accolade on a regiment of such high esteem and with strong links to the area.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the senior Scottish line infantry regiment of the British Army. It consists of five regular and two territorial battalions.