Wiltshire

RAF Lyneham returns Freedom of Swindon back to town

Two flights of RAF personnel based at Lyneham have exercised their right to march through Swindon for the last time.

Staff at the Wiltshire air base have held the Freedom of Swindon for the past 47 years.

The honour allows the airmen and women to march through the town with bayonets fixed and squadron standards flying.

The RAF base is due to close next year and most of its operational duties moved to RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

'Bayonets fixed'

The parade started at the civic centre with an inspection by Lord Mayor, Councillor Ray Ballman, before marching around the town.

Friday lunchtime's ceremony saw RAF Lyneham returning the freedom of entry to the borough back to the town - which it was granted in May 1964.

Station Warrant Officer Nick Dale said crews from the air base were really proud to take part in the march.

"It's a massive honour for the town to bestow the freedom on us and it's really important we come and exercise it and show ourselves off.

"We're the RAF, we're proud to serve, and this is what we do best," he added.

RAF Lyneham opened in 1939 and the first Hercules transport plane arrived in 1967.

The base has been the home of the UK's military air transport operations since March 1943.

The last Hercules is due to leave the base on 1 July.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites