ARMED FORCES FLAG RAISING CEREMONY – MONDAY 19 JUNE 2023
The Town Mayor, Councillor Leeroy Scott, led the flag raising ceremony held in the event space at the Forest Community Centre on Monday 19 June 2023. The event was held to mark the start of Armed Forces week, with Armed Forces Day being Saturday 24 June 2023.
Cllr Scott was joined by current serving representatives from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), Veterans, residents, representatives from local community groups, including the Royal British Legion and REME Association along with the 2412 Bordon Squadron Air Cadets, who also included Flight Sergeant Caitlin Sobey, his official cadet. Students from Oakmoor School, and Bordon Infant and Junior Schools attended the ceremony. Also in attendance was the Vice Chairman of East Hampshire District Council, Cllr Catherine Clark, and Hampshire County Councillor, East Hampshire District Councillor and Leader of Whitehill Town Council Cllr Andy Tree.
The Town Crier, Stuart Morrison, introduced the Town Mayor who gave a welcoming speech in which he paid tribute to the Corps of the REME for the important role that they have played in our town for over a century which was recognised in 2015 when they were awarded the “Freedom of the Town” at the Farewell to the Garrison Festival, and said that “it is important that we still recognise this event as a part of this town’s heritage”.
The Town Mayor said: “it is only fitting that we should give recognition to the tremendous support, sacrifice and commitment carried out by our Armed Forces (Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force), both veterans and present service men and women, as well as people serving across the Commonwealth”.
“Armed Forces Day signifies the commencement of a week of celebration and remembrance. It is an opportunity to show support for the Armed Forces community and service families. In 2023, Armed Forces Day will take place on Saturday 24 June. Today’s flag raising event is the start of those celebrations.”
The Town Mayor invited everyone to join him in a minute’s silence, which was then followed by a speech by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Newland of REME.
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John Cosh of the Royal British Legion raised the Armed Forces flag, assisted by Mr Gregor Anderson as the standard bearer and to close the ceremony, our Town Crier gave 3 cheers for our Armed Forces and the Town Mayor thanked everyone for their continued support for our Armed Forces.
Following the event, Cllr Tree said “I was very pleased to be able to welcome our guests from REME – Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Richard Newland, Second in Command Major Harry Hazel and Regimental Sergeant Major Graeme King, as it will mean a lot to our residents that they came from Tidworth to honour this tradition.” Cllr Clark said “It was a lovely turn out for the flag raising in Bordon today and I was very honoured to have been invited to represent East Hampshire District Council in my role of Vice Chairman. The current mayor Cllr Leeroy Scott did a lovely speech and I echo his words of gratitude to the Armed Forces that he gave in his speech”. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Newland said “Bordon remains a special place to both the soldiers within the Corps of the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers (REME) and even more to soldiers of 4 Armoured Close Support Battalion REME, as it was where our unit was formed in 2000. It is fantastic to be welcomed back and provided such warm support by the community of Bordon and Whitehill Council through Armed Forces Week.”