Air force squadron to be granted freedom of Oakham

504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force march through Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.'Photo: Corporal Alex Scott
504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force march through Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.'Photo: Corporal Alex Scott
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No. 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force is to be granted the honour of the Freedom of Entry to Oakham later this month.

The squadron was based at RAF Cottesmore until the Army took over in 2012 and is now based at RAF Wittering. The people of Oakham will be familiar with the squadron as it has taken part in the Annual Remembrance Parade since the mid 1990s.

Oakham Town Council will honour the squadron with the freedom on Sunday, September 21.

It promises to be a big day for Oakham and its residents which involves a church service, presentation of the scroll in the Market Place and a march through the town with drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and bayonets fixed.

The senior guests at the ceremony include The Lord Lieutenant for Rutland, Dr Laurence Howard, Air Vice Marshall Lord Beaverbrook, Air Commodore S M D Williamson-Noble, High Sherriff of Rutland, Air Vice Marshall Nigel Sudborough, President of the Royal British Legion, Air Commodore Russell and Group Captain Damien Alexander, Station Commander RAF 

All members of the public are welcome to attend the event, which will commence with a dedication service conducted by Canon Lee Francis-Dehqani in All Saint’s Church at 2pm, assisted by Rev Brian Nicholls, officiating chaplain to the military.

The event will also be supported by the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force Association, Air Training Corps and Army cadets

After the service 504 Squadron will form up in the Market Place for an inspection by the Lord Lieutenant and the mayor Jayne 

The mayor will then present the scroll granting the freedom which will be ‘trooped through the ranks’ on parade.

Following the presentation, the squadron led by the band, will march along Catmose Street, South Street, Mill Street, High Street, Northgate and dismiss in Church Street.

The salute will be taken by the Lord Lieutenant, AVM Lord Beaverbrook and the Mayor at the junction of High Street and Church Street.

Mrs Woodcock said: “This will be a spectacular event for Oakham.

“ We are proud to recognise the contribution that 504 Sqn has made both in recent conflicts as well as in the local community.

“I’m sure that the people of Oakham will turn out in large numbers to show their appreciation and support our servicemen and servicewomen”.