Video: the Gurkhas receive the Freedom Of York in colourful ceremony

Hundreds of people gathered to see the Queen’s Gurkha Signals receive the Freedom of the City on Tuesday (September 8) to mark their 200th anniversary.

More than 160 soldiers were on parade – 40 members of the Gurkhas and 120 soldiers from 2 Signal Regiment based at Imphal Barracks in Fulford.

In a ceremony in Duncombe Place, the Gurkhas received the traditional Freedom Scroll from City of York Council.

“It is our privilege as citizens of York that such a fine Regiment has become so closely involved in our day-to-day lives,” said the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Sonja Crisp.

“This is a proud day for the regiment and an equally proud day for us.”

The troops were inspected by the military and civic dignitaries led by the Lord Mayor of York, the Master of Signals, Major General Nick Pope.

The troops marched down Parliament Street and up Coney Street with bayonets fixed and to the music of the Band of the Queen’s Division.

A splendid view of the ceremony in Duncombe Place
A splendid view of the ceremony in Duncombe Place

While the soldiers exercised their Freedom of the City, the guests and public were entertained by a traditional Gurkha Kukri dance featuring dancers wielding the Nepalese sharp knives for which they are famous and accompanied by four Gurkha pipers and a drummer.

A singular honour

This year Gurkhas will have served in the British Army for 200 years and there are various celebrations nationwide to mark this anniversary.

Lieutenant Colonel Niall Stokoe, commanding officer of 30 Signal Regiment and commander of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals said:

Today marks a singular honour as Queen’s Gurkha Signals, for today is our day where we are recognised by the people and the city of York and granted the Freedom of one of this country’s most historic cities.

It is a singular honour for me as Commander of Queens Gurkha Signals to receive this Freedom and it will be an honour for this Regiment as we march through the city.

The freedom of the city is theirs
The freedom of the city is theirs

2nd Signal Regiment was presented with the Freedom of York in 2001 and the soldiers joined the Queens Gurkha Signals on the march through the streets.

Lieutenant Colonel Ian Hargreaves, commanding officer of 2 Signal Regiment, said:

We cannot do our job effectively as soldiers when we are overseas, unless we know we have support from people at home and whilst this is very ceremonial today, what the freedom of the city of York really means to 2 Signal Regiment is that we know that we have that support.