More than 150 officers and soldiers from 3 Military Intelligence Battalion (3 MI Bn) celebrated the 50th anniversary of their unit with two parades through central London on Saturday, 1 April.
In the morning the Battalion exercised its Freedom of the London Borough of Hackney with bayonets fixed and drums beating as they marched past an audience of civic and military dignitaries at Hackney Town Hall.
In the afternoon, after a service of thanksgiving at St James Garlickhythe Church, the Battalion paraded through the streets of the City of London to The Guildhall where the Lord Mayor of London, Dr Andrew Parmley, took the salute and presented the Battalion with City Privileged status. 3 MI Bn are only the 13th Armed Forces unit to be granted Privileged status by the Court of Aldermen of the City of London.
The Commanding Officer of 3 MI Bn, Lt Colonel Nik Fairweather said:
“The battalion has had tremendous support behind the scenes from the borough and people of Hackney and from the City Corporation. It’s been a great privilege to lead not one but two parades through the streets of London to celebrate the Battalion’s 50th anniversary and the strong ties that we have with our home base.”
The Battalion was formed on 1 Apr 1967 as the Intelligence and Security Group (Volunteers), re-titled 3 Military Intelligence Battalion in April 1999. Originally based in Camden, the Battalion headquarters has been located in Hackney since 2001.
3 MI Bn led the way for the use of Reserves in intelligence gathering being the antecedent to three other Reserve Military Intelligence battalions and the Specialist Group Military Intelligence, which have been all formed over the last ten years around the rest of the UK.
The national growth of the Military Intelligence Reserve has enabled 3 MI Bn to focus its support in recent years on elements of Defence’s Intelligence work in London and at RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire, whilst continuing to commit personnel to overseas operations.
3 MI Bn’s tighter geographical focus has enabled the battalion to strengthen its profile and recruitment in London with a particular emphasis on the City, and increasingly in Cambridge where 32 Company, 3MI has been based for the last three years. It has also allowed the Battalion to strengthen its links with the London Borough of Hackney, The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals and the City of London Corporation.