Over 900 junior soldiers from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate will march through Harrogate town centre on Sunday 10 May 2015 in recognition of the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
The college, which was awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Harrogate in 1972, is the only place in the UK to train school leavers who are aged under 18 as Junior Soldiers before they join their various Corps and Regiments of the Army at age 18.
Led by Harrogate and Tewit Youth Bands, the Freedom Parade will set off from West Park at 9.30am, and will march down Montpellier Hill, along Royal Parade and Swan Road, before assembling outside the council offices at Crescent Gardens.
The college’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Lane; Deputy Lieutenant Brigadier Nigel Wood; and the Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Councillor Jim Clark will take the salute. Guests will also include council members, Honorary Aldermen, members of the community who contribute to the war effort, and other local dignitaries.
After the ceremony, a commemorative service will be held at St Peter’s Church on Cambridge Road. At the start of the service, the Mayor will make the same statement that Councillor G.A. Spenceley, the former Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate made in May 1945 after peace had been declared.
The Freedom Parade is just one of the events marking 70 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe which are being held across the district and the UK. These include street parties, services of thanksgiving and a star-studied concert in central London.
VE Day itself (Friday 8 May 2015) will act as a day of remembrance, with a national two minute silence at 3pm, marking the moment Winston Churchill broadcast his historic speech formally announcing the end of the war.
The Army Foundation College’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Lane said: The Army Foundation College takes great pride in exercising our right to the Freedom of the Borough of Harrogate and it is particularly poignant to do it on the 70th Anniversary of VE Day which marks such an important moment in our military and civilian history.