Coldstream Guards received Freedom of Coldstream in 1968

The Guards stone gifted to the town by the Coldstream Guards during the Freedom of the Burgh ceremony.
The Guards stone gifted to the town by the Coldstream Guards during the Freedom of the Burgh ceremony.

On August 10, 1968, the Freedom of the Burgh of Coldstream was conferred on the Coldstream Guards, and 50 years later that ceremony will be remembered by a parade and civic reception in the town.

Around 50 Coldstream Guards are expected to be present for the 50th Freedom celebrations which take place during Coldstream Civic Week.

The Coldstream Guards march along the High Street past Henderson Park during the 1968 Freedom of the Burgh ceremony.

The Coldstream Guards march along the High Street past Henderson Park during the 1968 Freedom of the Burgh ceremony.

Organised by Coldstream Guards Association Coldstream Branch, events this year start with a dinner in Coldstream Community Centre (tickets £30 from Streamers Sandwich Bar, High Street) on Thursday evening, August 9.

Then on Friday, August 10, the parade of 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards Corps of Drums, the Old Coldstream Corps of Drums, a contingent of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and Number 7 Company, Coldstream Guards Cadets, the Coldstream Guards Association standard bearers and the Coldstream Guards Association branches will step off from the town’s Market Square at 12 noon. They will march up Market Street, along Duke Street, onto the High Street where the salute will be taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire and the Rt Hon Marquess of Donegal, president of the Coldstream branch and other dignitaries from Coldstream and surrounding areas at the war memorial.

On reaching Guards Road they will pause before marching back along the High Street to the war memorial for a few words from the Lord Lieutenant Jeanna Swan, then adjourn to the community centre for the civic reception.

An extract from the Coldstream Gazette, the journal of the Coldstreamers Association, written after the 1968 Freedom ceremony reads: “In December 1966, the Town Council of the Burgh of Coldstream unanimously agreed that the Regiment of the Coldstream Guards should have the Freedom of the Burgh conferred upon it.

“On August 10, 1968, 5000 people gathered in Coldstream for the Freedom ceremony. The 1st Battalion and regimental band made their way into the Market Square, and after a short interval the 1st Battalion Corps of Drums was followed by the 2nd Battalion detachment.

“When the Regimental Lieutenant Colonel took command of the parade there were some 400 Coldstreamers on parade, including 100 members of the Coldstream Guards Association commanded by Major D J Warde-Adam.

“The Provost of Coldstream arrived, accompanied by the Colonel of the Regiment (Major General Sir George Burns), dignitaries of the Burgh and some 14 Borders provosts and mayors.

“The Provost was greeted with the general salute and he inspected the parade. Town clerk Mr W Main read the Freedom scroll. He was followed by an address by Provost J M Davidson who reminded the parade how General Monck formed the regiment and visited Coldstream in 1659. He mentioned the spirit and reputation of the regiment, which, he said, started in that cold winter of 1659-60, when Monck’s regiment remained cheerful even in the appallingly cold conditions.

“In reply, the Colonel of the Regiment thanked the Provost and the people of the burgh for the great day, and pointed out that it had not been easy to obtain this great honour. He stressed that much of the regiment’s reputation was due to those who stood in the ranks of Coldstream Association and he hoped that those serving members on parade would continue to uphold traditions.

“After the speeches the Provost asked the people of Coldstream for three cheers, which were returned by the Parade. The Provost’s party now moved to Henderson Park for the march past, his entourage passing General Monck’s first regimental headquarters.

“After the march past with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying it was the turn of the regiment to show their appreciation for this unique honour by presenting a stone, which now stands in Henderson Park. The Colonel of the Regiment unveiled the gift, which stands on the corner of the River Tweed which was crossed by the Coldstreamers on their march to London in 1660: on that day the river was frozen over.

“To all those Coldstreamers who went to the Borders for this great day, the Freedom of the Burgh of Coldstream will always be remembered as a great week not just a day. Civic Week in Coldstream is always a colourful event and from the time the regimental band arrived they hardly stopped playing at dances, parades, concerts and in church. The hospitality of everyone in Coldstream certainly showed how great an interest is taken in the regiment by the town.”

And Coldstream continues to take a great interest in the regiment in 2018.