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  1. At various times the Civic Authorities throughout the United Kingdom have granted Honours to units of the Armed Forces, both Regular and Reservist.
  2. There do not appear to be a set of definitive rules governing what these Honours are, but they generally fall into two categories:
        1. Freedom of the County/City/Borough
        2. Adopted by the County/City/Borough
  3. The 'Freedom' – to march through the streets of the Borough with bayonets fixed, drums beating and Colours flying – is really an empty grant as, outside the City of London where the right has been zealously guarded for centuries, it does not seem that any City or Borough would be entitled to prevent units of Her Majesty's Forces from marching in the town. However, the practice has now been generally accepted and provides a dignified and satisfactory means of enabling a City or Borough to honour a distinguished unit of Her Majesty's Forces.
  4. Associated with the 'Freedom of the Borough' is the 'Freedom of Entry' which has been granted by a number of Cities and Boroughs to service units (Ships of the Royal Navy, Army units, Royal Air Force squadrons, stations etc.) which have rendered conspicuous service and are closely associated with the City or Borough. The ceremony of granting these Freedoms may differ slightly from that of granting Freedom to an individual, as they could not easily be carried out at a Council meeting as a fully representative body of troops from the unit may not be able to be present. The necessary formal resolution is therefore sometimes first passed at a special meeting of the Council and the 'Freedom' formally presented at a special ceremony, often held outdoors.
  5. Following both local government reorganisation and reorganisation of the Armed Forces, questions arise as to whether a Freedom of Entry granted by a former City or Borough is still valid and whether such a Freedom granted to a unit of the Armed Forces which has been absorbed into a new unit can be exercised by that new unit.
  6. So far as the grant of Freedom of Entry by a former City or Borough is concerned, subsection 1 of section 248 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides 'Nothing in this Act shall affect any person's status ... as a Freeman of a place which is an existing Borough' and subsection 4 of the same section provides 'After 31st March 1974: a Freeman of a City or Town ... shall have and enjoy the same rights whether in respect of property or otherwise as where held and enjoyed on that date by a Freeman of that City or Town...' Therefore, a Freedom of Entry granted by a former City or Borough remains valid and exercisable by the service unit to which it had been granted within the area of the former City or Borough.
  7. In the case of a new unit assuming Honours granted by a City or Borough to a former unit incorporated in it, the custom has developed that, as a matter of courtesy, the new unit informs the City or Borough of what has happened to the old unit and the City or Borough concerned usually confirms, formally or informally, that the new unit may continue to exercise the privileges granted to the old unit.
  8. Where the 'new' authority is a City, Royal Borough or Borough within the area of Greater London, it is open to the authority to reaffirm a grant of Freedom of Entry and to extend the right not only to the whole area of the Borough but also to extend the grant to the unit and its successors.
  9. Where the 'new' authority is not a City, Royal Borough or Borough within the area of Greater London, there is some difficulty for such an authority to admit Honorary Freemen as there are no statutory provisions for this. However, an informal resolution reaffirming a former grant of Freedom of Entry might be passed by the Council.
  10. The custom has generally been that once a 'Freedom' has been granted to the Borough, both the Borough and the descendant unit retain this Freedom forever.
  11. There is also the category of 'Adopted' status. There is no laid down statutory procedure for Adoption, but it is accepted custom that a City, Royal Borough or Borough may mark an affiliation with a unit of the Armed Forces by Adopting the unit. This is not only an acknowledgement of the association between the unit and its local community, but of the service given by it and its members. Adopted status is remarkably similar in definition to the granting of Freedom. The distinction seems to be between 'conspicuous service and close association' and simply 'service and association'.
  12. Both granting Freedoms and confirming Adopted status are always instigated and recorded by the local Civic Authority (the Council or equivalent). Although there is no statutory regulation governing Adoption, it is assumed that granting an Adoption will continue to the descendant unit.