'Medieval honour' given to young squadron
DURING medieval times the boundary of a city was sacred.
The citizens of those walled cities wisely refused to allow entry to armed groups, including troops, unless they were absolutely sure that those arms would not be used against them.
This tradition carried on through the Middle Ages and these rules helped protect the civilian populace from violence, theft and extortion at the hands of armed soldiers.
During the Middle Ages a city would, over time, form a close bond with a nearby lord, who commanded a force of personal soldiers and giving them Freedom of Entry was one way to formalise this bond.
These days the freedom of the city is an entirely ceremonial honour, usually bestowed upon a unit with historic ties to the area, as a token of appreciation for their long and dedicated service, but is still thought of as the highest accolade a town or city can bestow upon a group or individual.
The ceremony which dates back to medieval times was re-enacted at Saturday when air cadets challenged the Richmond Police District for the freedom of the city of Lismore.
Crowds lined the streets proudly looking on as Air Force Cadets from Lismore's 326 Squadron marched through the streets as part of the Freedom Of Entry for the first time in 75 years.
Mayor Isaac Smith said the cadets "done the city proud”.
"Yours is one of the first squadrons in NSW and the cadets today have shown their strength and courage and willingness to be here for the city of Lismore which is why you were granted freedom into the city.
The squadron's new banner was also revealed, sporting their logo -a birdwing butterfly with the rising sun over Mount Warning.
For the squadron it was a day to be cherished and one that will go down in their personal development and history.
Cadet Under Officer Ewan Harding, 19, said the Freedom of Entry to the City of Lismore was originally granted to 326 (City of Lismore) Squadron in 1943.
It was also the 77th celebration of the squadron.
"This is the first time the squadron has exercised its right to Freedom of Entry since it was first granted,” he said.
He said the parade was an effort on behalf of the three wing AFFC hadquarters over the past 12 months.
"The tradition goes back to medieval times when a walled city would welcome an allied army who would then take over the guard patrol and they would be inspected by the mayor and given the freedom of entry.”
The squadron marched along Magellan St, Molesworth St and finish on Bounty St.