City to celebrate its bond with Engineers

Military equipment on show at last year's Freedom Weekend. Picture ' Gary Longbottom (GL100326a)

Military equipment on show at last year's Freedom Weekend. Picture ' Gary Longbottom (GL100326a)

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The strong bond between Ripon and the Armed Forces will be celebrated once again during the Royal Engineers’ Freedom Weekend.

Events will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, as the 21 Engineer Regiment based at Claro Barracks in the city marks the 66th anniversary of the Freedom of Ripon being granted to the Corps of Royal Engineers.

Spectacular displays highlighting the skills of military engineers will take centre stage.

On Saturday, soldiers from 21 Engineers will man the static displays on the market square from 10am-2pm.

Among the displays will be two 30-tonne Terriers – a multi-terrain armoured digger – two Weapons Mounted Installation Kit (WIMIK) Land Rovers and two quad bikes

There will also be a Combat Engineer stand, a construction/artisan trade skills stand, a dive tank and a weapons demonstration which is expected to include an AK-47, AK74, a Dragonov sniper rifle and a DShk-Funker530 (Dushka).

And on Sunday, following the service at Ripon Cathedral at 11.15am for the Installation of the Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, the 21 Engineer Regiment will exercise its Freedom of the City by marching through the city centre.

The Engineers will gather outside the cathedral at around 12.15pm before marching up Kirkgate to Market Place where they will pass Ripon Town Hall for the salute at around 12.30pm.

The Corps of Royal Engineers was granted the Freedom of Ripon in 1949.

The 21 Engineer Regiment came to Ripon in 2008 from Osnabruck in Germany.

Ripon served as the site of a large Army Camp in the First World War and the future severing of the city’s 100-plus years link with the military was first announced in March 2013 when the Government revealed its intention to relocate 21 Engineer Regiment to Catterick as part of plans to help the Government save £240m a year.

The Government confirmed earlier this year the move would not happen until at least 2017. Other nearby bases forming part of the review announced in 2013 included Dishforth, which will remain open. There will be no changes at Topcliffe.