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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



01 February 2016

It was a freezing day in Carrickfergus but spirits were warm as Mid And East Antrim Borough Council conferred Freedom of the Borough - its first as a new Council - to B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry, in the presence of HM Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim Mrs Joan Christie and MOD Minister for Reserves Julian Brazier MP.

Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe and colleagues bestowed the honour in a special Council meeting convened in the Jubilee Room in the former Carrickfergus Town Hall.  Afterwards, the Troopers exercised their Freedom with a parade through the ancient town and past a Churchill Tank designed and built in Northern Ireland. The tanks were issued to the North Irish Regiment in the Second World War and used in North Africa and Italy.

Before the ceremony, the Mayor said:

“It is a matter of great pride for me that the first Freedom of the Borough of Mid and East Antrim will be officially given to B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry. This is the highest accolade and honour any Council can bestow on any group or individual.

“The Mid and East Antrim towns of Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne have a proud military tradition, with close links between the military services and the people.

“By conferring the Freedom of the Borough on North Irish Horse we are honouring the service and dedication of the present Regiment and those that have served in the past.

Col. Dr. Melfort, Regimental Honorary Colonel The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry commented: “We are deeply honoured to have been recognised by the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and recognise and appreciate the significance of being the first recipients of the Freedom of the Borough.

“The North Irish Horse has a distinguished record of service that continues today as part of The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry.  This public recognition from the Borough Council affords us an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by our forbearers and serves as an acknowledgement of the continued support from the public that is critical to the success of both the Regiment and the Army Reserve as a whole.”

While the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry is one of the newest regiments in the British Army, the North Irish Horse was established following the Boer War. It has since had a long and distinguished history particularly when, in 1941, it was equipped with Churchill Tanks during World War II. These were designed and produced by Harland and Wolff, who had one of their factories on the Woodburn Road, Carrickfergus.  A restored tank from that era is now on permanent display at the town’s Marine Gardens and provided an appropriate backdrop for the parade.