TA soldiers given freedom of north Down

Published Saturday, 08 June 2013
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TA soldiers have received the Freedom of north Down in a special event on Saturday.

TA soldiers given freedom of north Down
TA soldiers were on parade in Bangor on Saturday. (© Pacemaker)

North Down Borough Council organised the event to mark the support given by reservists from across Northern Ireland to overseas operations.

The soldiers, mostly from 591 Independent Engineer Squadron RE (V), based in Bangor, formed outside Bangor Castle as a ceremony was held inside the council chamber.

After being inspected by the Mayor, Councillor Wesley Irvine, the soldiers paraded through the town before a formal reception at Bangor Castle.

Soldiers from 591 Independent Engineer Squadron have a long record of operational service and some of those on parade have just recently returned from Afganistan.

The Officer Commanding, Major Kevin Thomas, said it is not just an honour for the reserve engineers but is being accepted on behalf of all TA soldiers across NI who have served over the years - most recently in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"These are men and women who have given their spare time, their talents and their enthusiasm often at cost to themselves and family, so that they can work for peace for all people," he said.

"It is a very fitting and appropriate gesture by North Down Borough Council on behalf of everyone in the community and we are exceptionally grateful."

Cllr Wesley Irvine added: "I have to say that I find the sheer dedication and commitment of the brave men and women of the Territorial Army to be quite inspiring.

"As Mayor of North Down, I am greatly honoured and proud to be in office on this momentous occasion when the Council has conferred the Freedome of the Borough on the men and women of the Territorial Army and specifically 591 Independent Engineer Squadron RE.

"It is, of course, a very special privilege for any Mayor to participate in a Freedom of the Borough ceremony since they occur so infrequently. Hence, today's occasion is a very special highlight coming as it does at the end of my year in office."

© UTV News
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9 Comments
Tommy Atkins in London,England wrote (507 days ago):
You are correct about the collection Alan and he is a hero and a icon for Belfast city and its people. And indeed all ofthe peoplein the U.K. Unfortuunately Alan, he was treated badly by his own community who were upset because he was a member of the British forces, After the war Mr Magennis RIP applied for a job in the Belfast shipyard but was again shunned.
Alan in IOM wrote (507 days ago):
@tommy . Maybe JJ Magennis was shunned by the Belfast city fathers , but not by the Belfast citizens who raised a shilling fund of over £3000 for him . Apperantly the money didn't last and he died poor and in poor health in England . Such a shame for such a brave man .
David in Scotland wrote (508 days ago):
Tommy "So Ric i really believe that we must look at the disgraceful precedent set in Belfast after WW2, when we speak of honouring our troops" - there are much more important things than handing out medals for killing people. We should be focussing on more serious issues like the Rape/Castration and torture of Kenyans by British Colonial forces which has been admitted to by the UK Government. I can understand why "honouring" soldiers can be controversial. Can I ask you Tommy in all honesty, would you feel comfortable giving the freedom of a city to Soldiers who served in Kenya for example ?
Stephen in Belfast wrote (508 days ago):
J.J magennis was put out of his house in west Belfast when he returned from the war and moved to clonduff east Belfast. His house that he lived in has a plague on it and their is also a painting in tullycarnet in east Belfast. I would say he was honoured by the Protestant people and rejected by republicans
Resident in Hillsborouhj wrote (509 days ago):
Pity the T A in Hillsborough who got their medals on Sunday did not get to parade in their Town.
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