1. ITV Report

Royal Marines get Freedom of the City of Birmingham for their heroism

Birmingham is set to offer the Royal Marines the 'Freedom of the City' in honour of their bravery and their ties with the city.

The Royal Marines Reserve has had a Birmingham detachment for 60 years and is currently based at HMS Forward in the Bordesley Green area.

Next week, council bosses are due to approve the Royal Marines as the 16th armed forces unit to receive the honour.

Credit: BPM Media

The honour means the Marines are free to "march with drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and bayonets fixed".

It is awarded to units with a close association to the city, or with a large number of serving personnel from Birmingham.

This is a long time overdue and something they richly deserve.

We have long-term links with the marines, including brave Brummies who have been awarded the Victoria and George Crosses. It’s something we can all be very proud of.

– Councillor Mike Sharpe, City armed forces ambassador
A Victoria Cross, seen on the left Credit: PA

Birmingham has produced several marines who have gone on to be awarded major honours for their bravery:

  • Sergeant Norman Finch (1890-1966): served from 1908-1929. Awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the Battle of Zeebrugge, Belgium in 1918.
  • Lance Corporal Matt Croucher: Awarded the George Cross for his bravery during service in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2008.
  • Marine Jonathan Crookes – joined the Birmingham Detachment in 2005 and was awarded the Commando Dagger for being the best recruit in training.