HMAS Albatross celebrated the 65th anniversary of its commissioning with a ‘Freedom of Entry’ parade through the City of Shoalhaven today.
The parade featured 1000 officers and sailors from HMAS Albatross and HMAS Creswell marching through Nowra with ‘swords drawn, bayonets fixed, the band playing and colours flying’ until Albatross Commanding Officer, Captain Gordon Andrew, was symbolically challenged by the acting Shoalhaven Local Area Commander, Superintendent Paul Condon, with the traditional “Halt! Who goes there!”
Reviewing Officer, the Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro, said it was a very special privilege for a military unit to be granted the Freedom of Entry to a city.
“It is a very old tradition that says the Military unit has earned the city's trust. In Nowra's case, this is even more special as it acknowledges a trust earned over the 65 years of the Fleet Air Arm making its home in Nowra onboard HMAS Albatross.”
Captain Andrew also stressed the important link that the parade provided for the Royal Australian Navy to the local community.
“The Freedom of Entry allows us to showcase our traditions and history and, just as importantly, occasions such as this provide Albatross and Creswell personnel with a valuable opportunity to thank everyone in the local community for their ongoing support.”
The Freedom of Entry was planned to mark not only Albatross’s 65th anniversary, but also the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Naval College which is now located at HMAS Creswell. The event was also a lead into the International Fleet Review, which will take place in Sydney in October.
The Fleet Air Arm will play an exciting role in the International Fleet Review, with a combined flypast featuring more than a dozen Navy helicopters flying over Sydney Harbour. Shoalhaven residents got a preview of this spectacle when helicopters from 816, 723 and 808 Squadrons flew in formation over the Freedom of Entry parade.