The crew marches through the city for the last time

The crew of the HMAS Armidale-class patrol boat Maitland held its final Freedom of Entry Parade in Maitland, NSW on April 2, with the ship due to be decommissioned later this month.

Freedom of entry is a tradition that dates back to medieval times, when trusted military units were granted permission to enter fortified towns to restock on food and weapons.

Commander of Maitland, Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Evain said it was a great honor to lead his ship’s crew through the streets of Maitland.

“Freedom of Entry is the highest honor a town can bestow upon a military unit and we are privileged to have received this mark of trust and respect from the people of Maitland,” said the captain of Evain corvette.

“The ship first received this honor in 2006 and we have had a close relationship with the city ever since.

“As we come to the end of HMAS Maitlandit is fitting for both the ship and the community of Maitland that we reconnect with our namesake town.

Master Zane Cross shows an NSW police officer the document granting HMAS Maitlandit’s right of free entry into the town of Maitland. Photo: Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller

Able Seaman Grady Munks said being part of a decommissioning team was a highlight of his career.

“It’s a real privilege – being part of a ship’s decommissioning crew is something I will remember for the rest of my career,” said Able Seaman Munks.

HMAS Maitland is the first Navy ship to bear the name Maitland. However, the name was previously used for a naval training establishment located near Newcastle during the Second World War.

Maitland is one of 12 Armidale-class patrol boats operated by the Navy.

This class of vessel is used as the Navy’s primary contribution to fisheries, immigration, customs and drug enforcement operations.

Maitland is based at HMAS coonawarra in Darwin, Northern Territory, and is due to be decommissioned on April 28.

The Armidale-class patrol boats will be replaced by the Navy’s new Arafura-class offshore patrol boats, which will become the Defense Police’s primary surface surveillance and response platform.

Other photos can be seen on the Defense image gallery.

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