THE personal flag of Lord Louis Mountbatten fluttered proudly over Romsey Town Hall sixty-nine years ago this week when the freedom of the ancient Borough was conferred on Romsey’s most notable resident, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

The town, in particularly Romsey’s Market Place, presented a brighter scene than had been seen for many years as businesses in the Square enthusiastically responded to the request to display flags and bunting to mark the occasion.

There was also the welcome return of the statue of Lord Palmerstone to the centre of the Market Place which, by coincidence, was re-erected this week after being removed early in the war for safety and to make room for a surface air raid shelter.

Admiral Mountbatten’s arrival into the Market Place was welcomed by a Guard of Honour made up of servicemen from the Navy, Army and Air Force, before Mountbatten joined a distinguished company inside the Council Chamber where the presentation onto Romsey’s distinguished son was begun.

A House of Commons quill was provided for Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten to sign the roll of freemen at Romsey after receiving the freedom of the borough during a presentation by the town’s Mayor, Councillor L E Allen.

Romsey Advertiser: Present of Freedom of Romsey to Lord Louis Mountbatten. 29th June 1946.

When Lord Louis replied to the presentation he handed the mayor, as a gift to the corporation, a razorsharp samurai sword surrendered to his forces by a Japanese officer.

The sword was believed to have been in the same Japanese family for over 200 years and was of great value as family heirlooms.

A large crowd then assembled in the town’s Memorial Park to see Lord Louis present to the Mayor the gift of a captured Japanese 150mm gun. The Mayor and Alderman R.C Chambers said that Romsey had every reason to be proud that their High Steward of the Borough was also the Supreme Commander of the South East Asia Command.

Romsey Advertiser:

The Mayor added that although the freedom of the borough did not mean much materially, it was symbolic of the great regard and esteem which they all had of the great man