RAF Cosford given Freedom of Birmingham at special ceremony
RAF Cosford have been granted the Freedom of Birmingham.
The unit are the first RAF unit to be given the award – with the celebrations taking place during the Freedom of Birmingham Parade.
A total of 170 Royal Air Force personnel, members of the University of Birmingham Air Squadron and Air Cadets took part in the event – which took place against the back drop of UK-wide RAF100 celebrations.
The parade began in Centenary Square at 11am on Saturday and saw an inspection carried out by Birmingham's Lord Mayor’s Deputy councillor Mike Leddy.
Royal Air Force personnel then exercised their right for the first time to march through the City with drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and bayonets fixed.
RAF Cosford Station Commander Group Captain Tone Baker, who received the Freedom scroll, said it was a 'great privilege'.
He said: "It is a great privilege for Royal Air Force Cosford to have the Freedom of Birmingham bestowed upon it.
"The men and women who have served on the Station since 1938 have always had a close relationship with the City and its people.
"During World War II, when the nation faced its greatest crisis, Birmingham and RAF Cosford worked together to provide many of the Spitfires and other aircraft that were needed on the front line in the defence of the United Kingdom.
"Our parade today honoured the 80-year relationship and looked forward to many more years of working together."
The unit paraded through the city centre – along Waterloo Street and Temple Row to the Cathedral, along Colmore Row and back to Victoria Square.
Wing Commander Jim Thorley, Officer Commanding No 1 School of Technical Training, lead the parade.
Mr Thorley, who is responsible for the training of all of the Royal Air Force’s aircraft engineers, said he was honoured to have taken part in the event.
He said: "It has been a great personal honour to be the Parade Commander at such an important event, especially given it was the Royal Air Force’s centenary year."
No 1 School of Technical Training’s Queen’s Colour, one of only seven across the whole Royal Air Force and the only one with a non-commissioned bearer, was paraded along with two Standards of the Royal Air Forces Association – the Royal Air Force Boy Entrants Standard and 2497 (Cosford) Squadron of the Air Training Corps.
The Royal Air Force Ensign was also raised during the ceremony by Senior Aircraftman Josh Mills, originally from Solihull, who said that he was ‘proud to be from Birmingham and to raise the Ensign in his home city.’