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Civic Honours granted by the Royal Boroughs Royal Borough of Greenwich crest

The Royal Borough of Greenwich

No Freedoms recorded

Royal Borough of Kensington

At an extraordinary meeting on 6th October 1959 the Council resolved that: "In appreciation of the famous record and glorious traditions of the Army Phantom Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment (Territorial Army), over a period of one hundred years of loyal and devoted service to the Sovereigns of this Realm, and in recognition of the celebration this year of the centenary of the raising of the Regiment, in which many thousands of local residents have served, the Council confer Civic Honours on the Regiment, with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Royal Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed."

The Freedom Scroll was presented at the same meeting. The only previous recipients of the Freedom of the Royal Borough were Her Royal Highness Princess Louise and Winston Churchill.

Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea

At an extraordinary meeting on 21st December 1959, Civic Honours with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Metropolitan Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed, were conferred upon:

40 Signal Regiment (Middlesex Yeomanry) (Territorial Army) in appreciation of the famous record and glorious traditions of the Regiment during a period of over one hundred and thirty years of loyal and devoted service to the Sovereigns of this Realm and in recognition of its long and intimate association with the Borough during which time thousands of local residents have rendered valuable service.

and upon:

The London Irish Rifles, The Royal Ulster Rifles (Territorial Army) in appreciation of the famous record and glorious traditions of the Regiment during a period of one hundred years of loyal and devoted service to the Sovereigns of this Realm and in recognition of the celebration this year of the centenary of the raising of the Regiment, in which many thousands of local residents have served.

At an extraordinary meeting on 26th April 1960, Civic Honours with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Metropolitan Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed, were conferred upon:

101st (London) Field Engineer Regiment (Territorial Army) in appreciation of the famous record and glorious traditions of the Regiment during a period of one hundred years of loyal and devoted service to the Sovereigns of this Realm and in recognition of the celebration this year of the centenary of the raising of the Regiment, in which many local residents have served.

Royal Signals changes 1959-1967:

In 1961 the Army Phantom Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment) (Territorial Army) was re-designated as 41 Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment). In 1961, 40 Signal Regiment (Middlesex Yeomanry) (Territorial Army) was amalgamated with 47 Signal Regiment (the lineal descendant of 25 (County of London) (Cyclist) Battalion The London Regiment) as 47 Signal Regiment (Middlesex Yeomanry). In 1967 both 41 Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment) and 47 Signal Regiment (Middlesex Yeomanry) were reduced to single squadron as part of the newly formed 31 Signal Regiment.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea crest

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Consequences of the amalgamation in 1964 of the Royal Borough of Kensington and the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea to form the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: A report to the Council by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Town Clerk in December 1967 sets out the situation as follows:

In 1959, the former Kensington Council conferred Civic Honours on the Army Phantom Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment (Territorial Army)), and at the same time the Chelsea Council similarly honoured the 47th Signal Regiment (Middlesex Yeomanry) (Territorial Army), London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles (Territorial Army), and the 101 London Field Engineer Regiment (Territorial Army). With the reorganisation of the Territorial Army into Volunteer Reserve Units, the first two Regiments were absorbed into the 31 (Greater London) Signals Regiment (Volunteers); whilst the 101 (London) Field Engineer Regiment (Territorial Army) had no successor unit within the boundaries of the Royal Borough.

As a result, the Council resolved on 12th December 1967:

a) That the Civic Honours conferred upon the 41 Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment)(Territorial Army) and the 47 Signal Regiment (Middlesex Yeomanry) (Territorial Army) shall enure for the benefit of the 31 (Greater London) Signals Regiment (Volunteers).

b) That the Civic Honours conferred upon the London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles (Territorial Army) shall endure for the benefit of the North Irish Militia D Company (London Irish).

Inscribed copies of the resolutions were to be presented to the Regiments.

Situation from December 1967:

Two units had the Freedom of the Royal Borough:

31 (Greater London) Signals Regiment (Volunteers) and North Irish Militia D Company.

The Town Clerk did not say so, but it may be that the Council had been advised that it was necessary to take formal action to continue the freedoms conferred by its predecessor authorities. It is apparent that the Council took the lack of a local successor to 101 (London) Field Engineer Regiment as justification for not perpetuating that Regiment's freedom.

Freedoms conferred by the Royal Borough 1967-1978:

On 17th March 1970 the Council of the Royal Borough resolved:

That in recognition of their importance in the new Territorial Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve order of battle and in appreciation of their association with the Royal Borough the Council confer Civic Honours upon Headquarters 44th Parachute Brigade with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Royal Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed. The scroll was presented on 16th May 1970.

On 1st February 1978 the Council of the Royal Borough resolved:

That in recognition of their importance in the new Territorial Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve order of battle and in appreciation of their association with the royal borough the Council confer Civic Honours upon 10th (Volunteer) Battalion The Parachute Regiment with the privilege, honour and distinction of marchingm through the streets of the Royal Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed. The scroll was presented on 19th April 1978.

Headquarters 44th Parachute Brigade did not appear in the Council Diary's List of units having Civic Honours after 1978. Presumably it had ceased to exist.

Changes of name:

31 (Greater London) Signals Regiment (Volunteers):

In 1987 became 31 Signal Regiment (Volunteers). The designation Greater London was discontinued after the abolition of the GLC. In 1996 became 31 (City of London) Signal Regiment (Volunteers).

North Irish Militia D Company (London Irish):

In 1987 became D Company London Irish Rifles, 4th (Volunteer) Battalion Royal Irish Rangers. In 2000 became D (London Irish Rifles) Company, The London Regiment.

Parachute Regiment changes 1999-2000:

In 1999 10 (Volunteer) Battalion The Parachute Regiment was shown in the Council diary (perhaps mistakenly) as having become 10 Company, 1 (Volunteer) Battalion The Parachute Regiment. The following year it was shown as 10 Company, 4 (Volunteer) Battalion The Parachute Regiment.

On 1st March 2000 the Council agreed the following recommendation:

That the Council, in recognition of its association with the Royal Borough, confer Civic Honours on 10 Company 4 PARA and that an inscribed copy of the resolution, under the Common Seal of the Council, be presented to the Company. The presentation took place at a parade in Chelsea Old Town Hall on 9th November 2001.

Freedoms conferred 2002-2008:

At a meeting on 26th June 2002 the Council resolved:

That this Council, in recognition of its importance in the new Territorial and Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve Order of Battle and in appreciation of their association with the Royal Borough, confers Civic Honours upon the Royal Yeomanry with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Royal Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed. The presentation was made at a parade in Holland Park on 18th January 2004.

At a meeting on 20th April 2005 the Council resolved to confer Civic Honours on 21 Special Air Services Regiment (Artists) (Rifles). The special nature of the Regiment's role precluded any description of its work in the resolution. The presentation was made at a parade in the garden of Leighton House on 13th July 2005.

On 21st September 2005 the Council resolved:

That in recognition of the unparalleled welfare and care which, for over 300 years, the Royal Hospital Chelsea has provided for retired soldiers, and in appreciation of its long and close associations with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Council, in this year which marks the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the second world war confers Civic Honours on the Royal Hospital Chelsea with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Royal Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed.

The presentation was made on 28th June 2006 at a parade at the former Duke of York's Headquarters, followed by a march along the King's Road to Chelsea Old Town Hall.

On 23rd January 2008 the Council resolved:

That in recognition of its importance in the Territorial Army, in appreciation of its long and close association with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and in recognition of its continuing operational service the Council confers Civic Honours upon 256 (City of London) Field Hospital (Volunteers) with the privilege, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the Royal Borough on all ceremonial occasions with Colours flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed. The presentation was made at a parade at Kensington Town Hall on 7th June 2008, followed by a march along Kensington High Street from Holland Park to the Town Hall.


Adopted Units

The Policy and Resources Committee reported to the Council on 12th March 1980 as follows:

As a means of forging links between local Reserve Units and the Royal Borough we are of the opinion that the Units listed below should be adopted:

257 (Southern) General Hospital Royal Army Medical Corps (Volunteers)
21 Special Air Service Regiment (Artists) (Volunteers)
144 Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps (Volunteers)
University of London Air Squadron (Volunteers)

Discussions have been held with the Secretary of the Greater London Territorial Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve Association and the Deputy Lieutenant for the Borough who would both welcome these Honours being bestowed. The Secretary to the Territorial Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve Association advises that there are no foreseeable disbandments or major reorganisation of Territorial Army units and that a period of stability is expected.

Accordingly the Council resolved to adopt the listed units.

On 1st October 1995 256 (City of London) Field Hospital was formed by the amalgamation of 217 (London) General Hospital Royal Army Medical Corps (Volunteers) and 257 (Southern) General Hospital Royal Army Medical Corps (Volunteers).

On 18th October 2000 the Council resolved to grant adopted status to the University of London Royal Naval Unit.

Also in October 2000 the Policy and Resources Committee received a report that 144 Field Ambulance had left the borough some years previously and no longer took part in any Borough events. The Committee agreed that the unit's adopted status should lapse.

Civic Honours having been conferred on 21 Special Air Service Regiment in 2005 and on 256 Field Hospital in 2008 two units remain with adopted status:

University of London Air Squadron
University of London Royal Naval Unit

Historical note – events of 1799, 1859 and 1908

Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment was the direct descendant of the 13th Battalion, The London Regiment, and The London Irish Rifles the direct descendant of the 18th Battalion, The London Regiment, both formed in 1908 at the time of the establishment of the Territorial Force, renamed the Territorial Army in 1920. References to the centenary of their formation in the 1959 resolutions conferring Civic Honours on the Army Phantom Signal Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment) (Territorial Army) and on The London Irish Rifles, The Royal Ulster Rifles (Territorial Army), and in the 1960 resolution conferring Civic Honours on the 101st (London) Field Engineer Regiment (Territorial Army), relate to the raising of Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1859.

Strictly speaking there is no direct link between the Kensington Volunteers raised in the late 1790s and disbanded at the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the Rifle Volunteer Corps on 1859, but 31 Signal Regiment and specifically 41 (Princess Louise's Kensington) Squadron Royal Signals have come to be regarded as the heir to those early volunteers. In 1999 a reception was held for 31 Signal Regiment at Kensington Town Hall in the presence of Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester to mark the 200th anniversary of the presentation of Colours to the Kensington Volunteers in 1799.

Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames crest

The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames

Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)
256 (City of London) Field Hospital (Volunteers)

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