Army corps receives freedom of Brecon in town centre ceremony

By Twm Owen in Local People

BRECON has stopped to pay tribute to an Army corps that has been based in the town for 25 years.

The Small Arms School Corps (SASC) was presented with the freedom of Brecon by the town council in the ceremony in The Bulwark that got underway from 9.30 this morning.

Mayor Rose Evans said in the 25 years since the corps was relocated to the Dering Lines Army camp it is estimated more than 500 of its members have made their homes and sent their children to school in Brecon.

Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders, the Commander of the Field Army, said the SASC is the smallest core in the British Army and could fit in its entirety in the main square in Brecon.

More than 100 soldiers were on parade and Lt Gen Sanders said: "We have almost the entire corps here. There are only 25 people in the corps not here today."

Lt Gen Sanders said the freedom of the town is an honour for the regiment as it is able to march through the town with its bayonets fixed, swords drawn and colours flying.

"That is often considered an act of war, for us to be able to do that is an act of confidence and trust in us," said the soldier who added Brecon is only the second town in the United Kingdom to grant the corps a freedom.

He said many of the corps on parade are drawn from the infantry and have a special relationship with Brecon.

"Brecon is our physical home but also for many of us our spiritual home.

"Many of us, like me, have spent many of our happiest, and unhappiest, days in the hills here and Sennybridge, which I know too well."

During the ceremony Mayor Evans inspected the corps before presenting the freedom of the town to officers and town clerk Fiona Williams read the council’s resolution, that granted the freedom.

The band of the Corps of the Royal Engineers, based in Chatham, played during the ceremony and closed the event with Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau and God Save The Queen before leading the soldiers on a march out of the Bulwark and through High Street.

Among those enjoying the spectacle was Colin Preece of Llanfihangel Talyllyn.

He said he enjoyed seeing the military parade in Brecon: "It’s a Brecon tradition and it’s nice to see them have the freedom of the town."

David Dales, from Oxfordshire, who has been assisting students on a Duke of Edinburgh course in the Beacons, was also watching in the Bulwark.

He said: "It’s great to have this pomp and circumstance, it’s a thankless task and you can see with police around there is still a worry with what’s going on but they do a magnificent job."

Dad Rob Francis, of Talybont, brought his four-year-old daughter Elsie and her cousins, Molly, 12, and Jack, 11, out to see the parade.

Rob said "We came to show our support and thought it would be nice and interesting for the children as it’s the school holidays."

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