Monday the 23rd April saw the launch of The Royal Marines Heritage Trail’s (Deal and Walmer) with the Collingwood Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, 42 Commando supported by Cadets, Royal Marines Association veterans and former WRENs. All paraded on Deal Castle Green before the Royal Marines exercised their right to march through the Town. The Freedom of The Borough was granted to the Royal Marines after World War 2 in 1945. Since then the Depot Deal was used to train Recruits, Junior Marines and Bandsman.
The Collingwood Band and 42 Commando left South Barracks from Jubilee Gate and marched to Deal Castle where the parade was reviewed by The Lord Lieutenant of Kent, accompanied by the Commandant General Royal Marines. Welcome address by The Lord Warden and Admiral of The Cinque Ports followed, culminating in a presentation of a Royal Marines Heritage Trail Marker Plaque to Mr Nic Van de Marliere, General Representative of the Government of Flanders in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Admiral of the Fleet and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, The Lord Boyce, KG GCB OBE, thanked the hundreds of spectators for coming to the event which marked the opening of the Trails.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome you all here today in the sunshine to be part of this event. In particular I’d like to thank the visitors from Zeebrugge, who themselves have been commemorating this week with ceremonies to mark the Zeebrugge Raid centenary. This event has played a major part in the history of Deal as the Royal Marines 4th Battalion was formed and trained here before the Daring Raid, in 1918.”
“The Royal Marines connection with Deal, Walmer and the surrounding area is so strong,” said Major General Charles Stickland OBE, Commandant General Royal Marines. “Back to February 1665 when the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot, the forbearers of the Royal Marines, took up duties in the Castle at Deal to protect the Fleet.”
“I’m delighted and honoured to be here with you today to launch the Royal Marine Heritage Trails, in front of the magnificent Bastions of Deal Castle.. I’m enormously fortunate also to be the patron and I can only marvel at the hard work and efforts which have gone into this wonderful community project.”
Lining the streets of Walmer and Deal were thousands of well wishers who had supported the project. They cheered the Royal Marines and their Bandsman throughout the Town as they proudly marched with their ‘Bayonets Fixed, Bands Playing and their Colours Flying’. This included 22 year old Royal Marine Ryan Littler-Laing who is from Deal. The former Downs Primary School and Walmer Science College pupil completed his training in June last year. He was honoured to be back here marching with a rifle, through the town in which he grew up in.