HMS FORWARD, the only Royal Naval Reserve Unit in the West Midlands, received the Freedom of the City of Wolverhampton on Saturday 28th September.

The Freedom of the City is an honour reserved for military units, and as such, the Ship’s Company of Birmingham’s Royal Naval Reserve Unit paraded the Queen’s Colour through the streets of Wolverhampton. They were joined by the Band of the Royal Marines and Sea Cadets and Royal Marines Cadets from Birmingham, Sandwell, Telford and Wolverhampton.

Despite its distance from the sea, HMS FORWARD has a large naval footprint and is an important training facility providing vital training and skills to the 150 Royal Navy Reservists and Royal Marine Reserves who live in the West Midlands area when they are not serving overseas. Its primary goal is to train Reservists to support their Regular counterparts on ships or land operations, and also to offer medical training and experience.

The Commanding Officer, Commander Phil Sparke, said about the day: “It is a huge privilege for HMS FORWARD to be granted Freedom of the City of Wolverhampton.  This is an honour that British cities have bestowed on naval and military units for hundreds of years and we are thrilled to be part of that continuing tradition.  HMS FORWARD hugely values its relationship with the City of Wolverhampton, and I hope that the ceremony will cement that for very many years to come.”

The ceremony started at 12.00 midday in St Peters Square, with the parade stepping-off at 12.30pm through the streets of Wolverhampton.

HMS FORWARD holds monthly recruiting events for those that who want to understand more about a career in the Royal Navy Reserve. Visit or call the Unit on 0121 703 6360 to sign up to attend one of these events.

To find out more about the Royal Naval Reserve you can also visit our web page here.