TROOPS are preparing to exercise their Freedom of the City.
Granted to the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers regiment, the freedom permits soldiers to march through Tamworth with weapons and swords drawn.
It’s part of a commemoration of a century since the end of World War I.
Mayor Grant Prendergast said the effects of war are still felt in Tamworth today.
“It’s quite bizarre, I was walking on ground and fighting on ground in the Middle East where my regiment was 100 years before me,” he said.
It’s quite bizarre, I was walking on ground and fighting on ground in the Middle East where my regiment was 100 years before me.- Major Grant Prendergast
“That’s a pretty strange feeling, to think I was on the same ground a soldier from Tamworth, Armidale or Muswellbrook was fighting on.”
The regiment was given Freedom of the City in the 1960s, a tradition so ancient that even Regimental Sergeant Major Andrew Donnelly can’t remember the last time it was exercised.
“If you picture the town with walls up the body of troops would arrive and be met at the gates,” he said.
“From what I have read I don’t think there’s any other unit in Australia that’s been granted more Freedoms of Entry to cities than the 12/16 regiment.”
The regiment has been granted Freedom of the City in Armidale, Gunnedah, Muswellbrook, Merriwa and Scone and will commemorate the centenary on November 10.
The local Australian Army Reserve cavalry has fought in numerous battles historically, including Gallipoli and the Battle of Beersheba.
The 16th Light Horse Regiment was awarded battle honours for the Middle East campaign despite never engaging in overseas service – an honour considered rare by most Sergeant Major Donnelly said.
“We want to raise the unit’s profile again and celebrate with the community,” he said.
“This is Tamworth’s regiment, when people think of the army they should think of us.
“We haven’t really moved out of this region since it was formed in some fashion since well before WWI.”
The WWI commemorations will take place in Tamworth on November 10 with more details to come on parades and memorials.