At  1pm on Friday 9th July 2021 on Broad Street, Kirkwall Orkney Islands Council are conferring the “Freedom of Orkney” on the Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Group in recognition of their on-going commitment to the annual survey of HMS Royal Oak war grave in the waters of Scapa Flow and the resetting of a RN Ensign onto the wreck.  Also their regular visits to Orkney for the disposal of old ordnance and dangerous objects from the shore line.  The ceremony will commence at 12.45pm. Following the official handing over of the “Freedom Scroll” the NDG and RM Band will take part in a traditional march through the town with Drums beating, Flags flying and “Bayonets fixed” displaying the scroll on a cushion for all the townsfolk to see and recognize.  

On the evening of Thursday 8th July 2021 at 6.30pm the NDG accompanied by the Band of the Royal Marines will perform the ceremony of “Beating Retreat” at Stromness Academy (car park). The ceremony will be preceded by our very own Stromness RBL Pipe Band. The Pipe band will perform a short programme 10-15 mins in the lead up to the ceremony itself.

This is a public event but spectators should adhere to the Covid restrictions of social distancing and face covering where appropriate.

Dating back to Roman times Martial organizations that are granted the privilege of The Freedom of a City are allowed to march through the streets with their weapons unsheathed. In modern times this is known as Bayonets Fixed.  This is to say that the bayonet is fixed to the muzzle of a rifle as in prepared for use.