Freedom Parade

Freedom of the Borough of Helston was granted to serving personnel of RNAS Culdrose (the Royal navy airbase on the outskirts of the town) in 1958 – this is the highest privilege a town can give to a military establishment.  Each year, through the Freedom Parade, sailors continue to exercise their right to march through the town.  This really is an impressive sight as RNAS Culdrose Navy personnel pass through the town with their swords drawn, bayonets fixed, colours flying and bands playing. 

Personnel form in Meneage Street and march through to Coinagehall Street; the parade will halt at the Guildhall for the Mayor and the Commanding Officer of Culdrose to receive and inspect the guard; the Mayor’s Chaplain leads prayers; the Mayor address the Parade and then the Commanding Officer responds.


Helston Town Mayor, Councillor Miles Kenchington, comments ‘the Freedom Parade is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the connections between the town and the airbase since it was commissioned in 1947. RNAS Culdrose is one of the largest helicopter bases with over 3000 personnel, many of whom, with their families, live in our town.’


The bond between the air station and Helston remains as strong as ever.  The date for this year’s Freedom parade has yet to be confirmed but will be equally as auspicious as the 75th anniversary of the naval base, given that 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings – the 6th June 1944 being marked as the day that began the liberation of France and western Europe. 854 Squadron, now based at the air station, was formed during the Second World War in January 1944 and operated over the English Channel to carry out anti-shipping patrols in the run-up to the D-Day Allied invasion of Europe.

Full details for this year’s parade will be shared once confirmed; as in previous years, members of the public are invited to share the occasion and can watch the parade from Meneage Street and Coinagehall Street. 


In 2022, to mark the 75th anniversary of RNAS Culdrose, more than 150 sailors formed and marched through the streets; the parade also featured the HMS Seahawk Volunteer Band, the HMS Seahawk Field Gun Team and a fire engine from the airfield.

The Mayor at the time, Councillor Tim Grattan-Kane said: “It is with great pride and pleasure that I anticipate the Freedom Parade, as Culdrose is a key element within our community. Over many years, its sailors provided the air-sea rescue facility for our community. There is no doubt that there are hundreds if not thousands of people who owe their lives to the skills and bravery of the aircrews.’

“It is fitting that we also recall their bravery in conflict on the 40th anniversary of the Falklands war. Without their willingness to put their helicopters in danger many more ships would have been exposed to danger.

“Helston is enriched by the presence of Culdrose, by the families in our schools, the members of the community who work on site and all the personnel who live in our community and contribute so much. It must be a positive indication that so many personnel remain in the Helston area upon retirement.

“We welcome the captain and personnel of HMS Seahawk exercising their freedom of the town and thank them for their service.”



 Freedom Parade 2018





Freedom Parade 2019