London’s affiliated warship, UK Navy’s HMS Westminster, spent six days in the nation’s capital where the ship’s company visited the Tower of London, took part in a Freedom of the City parade, and opened her gangway to members of the public and dignitaries.
Shortly after arriving members of the frigate’s company visited the Tower of London’s ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ poppy installation.
There they helped volunteers assemble the next batch of poppies before planting them.
The art installation marks the centenary anniversary of the start of the First World War and by Armistice Day (11 November), 888, 246 will have been planted.
On Saturday the ship was open to visitors and then on Sunday the men and women of Westminster took the opportunity to parade through the City of Westminster as the Lord Mayor took the salute.
The parade passed the Naval Division Obelisk at Horseguards Parade, Admiralty Arch, Nelson’s Column and the Cenotaph where marks of respect were paid.
The parade culminated at Westminster Abbey.
The Freedom of the City of Westminster is sparingly granted. The first person to receive the honour was Winston Churchill in 1946.
Prior to the Freedom being granted to HMS Westminster in 2005 only six other Freedoms had been awarded, the previous one in 1990.
Press Release, September 30, 2014; Image: LA(Phot) Rhys O’Leary