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Flying the fl ag for the Forces

MEMBERS of the public the length and breadth of the UK have been celebrating the past, present and future of the Armed Forces.

From Lossiemouth in Scotland

to Penzance in Cornwall, from Coleraine in Northern Ireland to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, more than 350 cities, towns, villages and communities marked the second annual Armed Forces Day. In Scotland alone almost 30

towns and cities hosted events, twice the number from last year, with the Stirling Military Show setting the ball rolling. Among the larger events were

those at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with other celebrations in Keith, Greenock, East Kilbride, Ayr,

Arbroath, Kirkcaldy,

Dumfries, Castle Douglas, Kelso, Paisley, Wick and Dingwall. Across the Irish Sea, minehunter

HMS Bangor was one of the main attractions at her ‘home town’ when more than 60,000 people attended the annual Sea Bangor Maritime Festival. The Sandown-class vessel was open to visitors over the weekend, welcoming more than 4,000 people on board, while her CO, Lt Cdr Neil Marriott gave a presentation on the Royal Navy today. More than a dozen members of the ship’s company took part in ceremonies on the Sunday, forming part of an 800-strong parade which included veterans and cadets. The Navy also provided a Search and Rescue helicopter for an overflight, and the Royal Marines Band from Scotland gave a number of formal and impromptu concerts. Back in Great Britain, the focus of activities on Armed Forces Day itself was Cardiff, which hosted the second ‘national event’ (the first was at Chatham last year). More than 80,000 people

enjoyed a full programme of events in the sunshine, including a parade from Cardiff Castle to the city’s waterfront led by the Prince of Wales.

● HMS Bangor at Eisenhower Pier in Bangor, Northern Ireland Picture: Mike O’Neill (Defence Press Office NI)

A traditional drumhead ceremony was held at Roald Dahl Plass, as were demonstrations by Royal Marines Commandos and the RM Band, while the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows provided aerial entertainment. The Navy’s heavyweight

contribution to the day was frigate HMS Kent, alongside at Britannia Quay (see page 10). But it wasn’t all about the big cities and parades – Armed Forces Day was a chance for everyone to demonstrate their support for the Servicemen and women of today, the veterans of yesterday and the future of the Forces in the form of the cadet organisations. The village of Southwick, just

north of Portsmouth, saw trainees from the Defence Police College – formerly HMS Dryad – parade past the college commandant, Grp Capt Sexton RAF, and the village

● The Prince of Wales takes the salute from veterans in Cardiff Picture: LA(Phot) Dean Nixon

squire, Robin Thistlethwayte. At the other end of England,

the Northern Diving Group took part in Armed Forces Day in Whitehaven, part of the town’s festival – members of the public tried out the Explosive Ordnance Disposal suit and watched diving demonstrations. North of the border, close to the bonnie banks, Cdr Martin Claxton of Clyde Naval Base took to the waters of Loch Lomond in his single scull as a joint venture between Loch Lomond Rowing Club and the RN & RM Rowing Association to show their support. Martin said: “We all wanted

to show our support for Armed Forces Day – and rowing can be a very graceful sport. “With the weather so good, I

was able to fly the flag.” Of course, some of the UK

events had a minimal (or non- existent) Senior Service input – the inaugural World Slug Racing Championships at the Horseshoe pub in Shipston-on-Stour, for example (“bring your own slug or rent one for the day”...) which raised money for local and Forces charities. The Navy’s worldwide footprint meant that there were plenty of AFD events to be seen in far-flung venues.

Across the Pond, assault ship HMS Ocean marked the big day while alongside in Morehead City, North Carolina.

The Mighty O had just completed

a two-week crossing of the Atlantic and berthed in Morehead City to offload troops and equipment as part of the Auriga 2010 deployment (see pages 21-25). Service personnel in Spain

celebrated AFD a few days early at a cocktail party in Madrid, hosted by Defence Attaché Capt Freddie Price and his wife Angie. The honour guard was a tri- Service affair,

Scotland next...

year’s event, Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced the venue for 2011, adding that he was sure “Edinburgh city council, the local community and our Forces across Scotland will provide a celebration

● Synchronised fl ag-holding at the British Embassy pool in Baghdad; from left, Maj Sam Stuthridge RE, Chief Tech Shaun Raynor, WO1 Sea Prince RMP and Lt Cdr Beasty Williams

EDINBURGH will have the honour of hosting the national Armed Forces Day flagship event next summer on Saturday June 25. Speaking at Cardiff during this

befitting such a great capital city.” Edinburgh’s Lord Provost George Grubb said:

tremendous honour for Edinburgh to host Armed Forces Day 2011. “Plans are already under way to

“It’s a

lay on a truly spectacular occasion, and we want the whole city to get behind our troops and veterans – the people, local businesses, schools and community groups.”

● A Lancaster and Spitfi re of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fl y over the crowds in Cardiff

Picture: PO(Phot) Mez Merrill

● Cdr Martin Caxton of Clyde Naval Base fl ies the fl ag on Loch Lomond Argentina,

Russia and the

Netherlands, attended. Further East, Servicemen and

women let off steam at an AFD sports day at the British Embassy in Baghdad, when the small, scratch Navy team was pipped at the post by the Army. A programme including

volleyball, tennis and six-a-side football ended with the Pongos snatching victory in a freestyle relay in the embassy pool. The Navy team consisted in

part of members of the advisory group to the Iraqi Navy, who work under the umbrella of the Iraq Training Advisory Mission – Navy (ITAM – Navy), largely based on the coast at Umm Qasr – where an AFD charity barbecue was held at

Picture: LA(Phot) Pepe Hogan

the British Consulate General. Featuring a pub quiz, the

event – which attracted American service personnel, representatives of British industry and ex-pats, raised £785 for various military charities, while UK civil engineer Mott MacDonald added a further £3,275 to the pot. Finally, in our brief and random

look at events – sadly we have too little space to cover them all – bases throughout Helmand province in

Afghanistan were

festooned with AFD flags as temperatures approached 50°C. Just as important as showing

support was the boost given to the troops by the level of support they could see from the folks ‘back home’.


and military

representatives from around the world, including Venezuela,

● (Above) AB(D) Thomas ‘Rick’ Stynes on the harbour wall in Whitehaven during the town’s Armed Forces Day celebrations

● (Right) Chief of the General Staff Sir David Richards takes a break in the Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, with (from left) Bradley Chandler, from Virginia USA, Ansley Odell, from Atlanta USA, Maggie Downs, from Grangemouth, Tony Scappaticcio, from South Queensferry, and Sophie Brockie, from Grangemouth

Picture: Mark Owens (Army)

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