Mandurah air force cadets to march for freedom

Royal Australian Air Force cadets from Mandurah’s 707 Squadron will be marching in a freedom of entry exercise on Sunday, a ceremony with origins stretching back centuries.

The ceremony, in which the cadets will be greeted by Mayor Marina Vergone and request from her freedom to enter the City of Mandurah, will begin at 10am, Sunday at Stingray Point and include a parade along the board walk to the performing arts centre.

The ceremonial event has its origins in early European history, when cities were walled and protected by local rather than national armies.

Military units from other cities had to request freedom to enter, a privilege which was rarely granted and associated with a formal ceremony.

The squadron’s executive instructor Rebecca Sturm said the ceremony is now about RAAF units taking pride in the municipalities in which they are based.

Mayor Vergone will inspect the parade which will then be challenged by a police officer.

The cadets will request the right to move freely through the city with “swords drawn, drums beating and ensign flying”.

It is believed to be the first time a military unit has been granted freedom of entry by the City of Mandurah.

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