Alnwick RAF parade to mark 100 year anniversary

Over fifty servicemen and women from RAF Boulmer and the RAF Waddington Pipes and Drums Band will march through the streets of Alnwick on Sunday July 22nd  to celebrate the centenary year of the RAF.

It is hoped that people from the local community will turn out in force to pay their respects to all those stationed at the base who have provided such a valuable service to both the county and the country.

The parade will start in Bailiffgate near Alnwick Castle at 11am and will follow a route through the castle grounds onto Greenwell Lane, through Bondgate Arch and the centre of town followed by an inspection in the Market Square.

RAF Boulmer has been an integral part of the defence of Northumberland since 1940. The base has however developed significantly over the years. Today it is the home of the Force Headquarters for the United Kingdom Airspace Surveillance and Control System that maintains a watch over our skies 24 hours each day, 365 days per year. 

Civic Head of  Northumberland County Councillor, Jeff Watson said:
“ The people of Northumberland  are proud of their long association with RAF Boulmer and I'm sure they will demonstrate that with a big turnout to see the parade.

“ Of course, no-one can forget the sacrifices made by RAF personnel during war over the last 100 years, defending our country and our values.

“The RAF changed the course of world history and the Centenary is an historic event as well. We want to honour those who served and those who continue to serve on this occasion too."

Station Commander RAF Boulmer, Group Captain Rich Jacob said:

“It is an honour to be the Station Commander of RAF Boulmer as we invoke our Freedom of Northumberland right to march through Alnwick with our drums beating and bayonets fixed.  It is wonderful way for RAF Boulmer to celebrate the Royal Air Force’s centenary with our community.”  -  

RAF Boulmer was granted the Freedom of Northumberland in 2010 and will be exercising its right to parade through Alnwick on Sunday.

Granting the freedom is an ancient honour given to military  organisations, allowing them the privilege to march through the streets ‘with drums beating, colours  flying, and bayonets fixed.’

The honour dates back to the laws of ancient Rome which  made it a capital offence for Roman legions to enter the city in formation or with weapons without permission. The law was in place to ensure that ambitious generals did not mount a military coup. 

However military groups that had given heroic service or whose honour was beyond question, could be granted Freedom of the City: the group would not have to disarm or break ranks before the city gates were opened to them and, given the serious risk the city would be running, this was a rare honour.
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