HMS Dryad Freedom Ceremony

Winchester will be full of military sights and sounds this Saturday 27 March as naval personnel from HMS Dryad take part in their Farewell Freedom Ceremony in the Broadway, outside the Guildhall.

The march will set off from Peninsula Barracks in Romsey Road at 11am, then go past the Westgate Tower, through the main shopping precinct and form up in the Broadway. After a farewell ceremony and salute to the Mayor, Cllr Jean Hammerton, the parade will reverse its route back to the Barracks.

HMS Dryad is the naval training base located in the village of Southwick, at the southern edge of Winchester’s district. It includes the famous Southwick House, from where General Eisenhower and General Montgomery made the historic decision to proceed with the Normandy landings on D-Day, 6 June 1944.

HMS Dryad was first presented with the Freedom of the City of Winchester in 1995 and is now receiving her farewell ceremony as HMS Dryad will shortly become part of HMS Collingwood.

HMS Dryad is one of only four military units to receive the Freedom of the City, which was granted to them in 1995. The morning will see 150 officers and ratings from HMS Dryad, plus the Royal Marines Band, exercising for the last time their right to march though the City, with ‘fixed bayonets, drums beating and colours flying’. This is in accordance with an ancient privilege, traditionally awarded by cities to host or guest regiments with whom they felt safe.

"The City of Winchester has had a long relationship with the military and we are proud to acknowledge our alliances in a traditional ceremony such as this," said the Mayor.

"The honour of the Freedom of the City, giving the ancient right of Freedom of Entry, is granted as a rare gift and only to those with whom the City has a very special affinity", added Cllr Hammerton.