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HMS Medway crew given freedom of the Towns after parade

Hundreds gathered to watch as the crew of the new patrol ship HMS Medway were given the freedom of the Towns.

The Royal Navy's latest offshore patrol vessel was commissioned in Chatham on Thursday, and the crew stepped ashore on Saturday to parade through the town centre.

The Royal Marine Band lead the freedom parade, followed by the crew of HMS Medway (17141358)
The Royal Marine Band lead the freedom parade, followed by the crew of HMS Medway (17141358)

Led by the Royal Marine Band, the crew were joined by sea cadets as they marched down the High Street, before being granted the Freedom of the Towns by the mayor of Medway Habib Tejan.

After the formalities the band struck up Hearts of Oak and the crew paraded to Medway Council offices at Gun Wharf in Dock Road, saluting as they passed, before making their way to the Historic Dockyard.

Among those in the crowd was ex Gillingham mayor Diana Smith who said it was important to enforce the Navy's connection with Chatham.

"We're so lucky to have a connection with the Navy," she said. "I'm sure people are so proud that she's come back for her commissioning.

"People in Medway are lucky to have the opportunity to have them parading through the Towns. It's lovely for children and parents can explain exactly what it means."

HMS Medway is a 90-metre Offshore Patrol Vessel and will be involved in counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling operations.

The ship can operate the Merlin helicopter, is armed with a 30mm automatic cannon, two miniguns, four machine guns and capable of 24+ knots.

The crew of HMS Medway line up in Chatham Town Centre to be granted the freedom of Medway (17141363)
The crew of HMS Medway line up in Chatham Town Centre to be granted the freedom of Medway (17141363)

More in Thursday's Medway Messenger.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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