Freedom of Hackney granted to the borough s only TA unit


THE Freedom of the London Borough of Hackney was formally granted to the borough’s only Territorial Army unit, The 3 [Volunteer] Military Intelligence Battalion (3MI), on Sunday, 29 March, 2009.

Members of 3MI, which is based in Worship Street, Shoreditch, exercised their newly awarded Freedom by marching for the first time through the streets of Hackney.

The Freedom is the traditional way for a town or locality to acknowlege the contribution of the Armed Forces and confers the right for a military unit to march through the borough’s streets. On this occasion, 3MI followed the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas, and in keeping with their role, rifles and bayonets were not on display.

Soldiers from 3MI are the major Territorial elements of the Intelligence Corps and 60 per cent of the unit’s personnel have seen operational service working alongside their regular Army colleagues.

Mayor Jules Pipe presided at this historical event, also attended by Sir David Brewer, Kt CMG Lord Lieutenant for Greater London; Brigadier Mark Hallas MBE, Director Intelligence Corps; Brigadier David Paterson OBE, Deputy Commander, London District; Lieutenant Colonel Roderick Morriss TD DL, the Queen’s representative in the borough.

Mayor Jules Pipe said: “This is the highest honour the borough can give, and it is important that we recognise the service of men and women of the reserve forces who have such close links with Hackney.”

The parade set off from Reading Lane at 11am. The route then proceeded into Morning Lane, past the General Browning Memorable Order of Tin Hats club, before returning to the Town Hall where a salute was taken on the steps. Volunteer Reserve Forces Service Medals (VRSMs) and Overseas Service Medals (OSMs) were then presented to some members of the parade. A civic reception took place afterwards in the Assembly Halls.

A resolution to bestow the freedom of the borough to 3MI was passed at a special meeting of the Council in October last year.