HMS Cambria have been awarded the Freedom of the Vale of Glamorgan County Borough, in recognition of their distinguished service history.

And on Saturday, March 31, the ship's company exercised the Honorary Freedom with a parade through Barry.

The freedom ceremony was attended by HM Lord Lieutenant Dr Peter Beck and dignitaries from across Wales, and afterwards the ship's company, led by HM Royal Marine Band, marched from King Square through Barry town centre.

HMS Cambria was commissioned in 1947 and originally based in Cardiff Docks. The present buildings at Sully, which are the former service married quarters, were opened on October 15, 1980, starting a valued connection with the Vale of Glamorgan.

Until 1993, Cambria's main operational role was the manning and operating of minesweepers. From 1984 until it was sold in 1993, Cambria operated a River Class Minesweeper, HMS Waveney, which was a familiar sight in Barry Docks throughout that period.

Since 1993, the RNR's role has undergone significant change. This has become more pronounced since 2003, and reservists from Cambria have served in Iraq, the Gulf and Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and the Balkans.

Combined with deployments on board Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships and shore based posts, up to 25 per cent of the ship's company have been consistently mobilised with the Royal Navy since 2003.

Many of the volunteer reservists have been recruited from across the Vale of Glamorgan and South Wales. The current commander of HMS Cambria, Commander Neil Pugh, said: "It is a matter of great pride that the reservists are able to serve in and for their home county, and we are extremely pleased to have been given this honour."

The Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan, Cllr John Clifford, added: "This is an important landmark in the close relationship between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and HMS Cambria, and is in recognition of the service of past and present reservists."


THE Freedom of a County is the highest civic honour that can be bestowed, and stems from medieval times when fortresses were necessary to protect inhabitants from incursion by outlaw bands and attack by feudal lords.

Groups of armed men were refused entry to the city unless the citizens were confident they meant no harm.

Thus, granting permission for a formed body of armed men to enter a city became a mark of trust and confidence summarised as the "Freedom of entry with swords drawn bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and colours flying".