Armed Forces Day 2023
The country pays tribute to the Armed Forces community
Today the country came together to thank members of the Armed Forces community for all that they do in keeping us safe, at home and abroad.
Tributes led by His Majesty The King, The Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary marked the start of Armed Forces Day 2023 celebrations.
The Armed Forces community, from regular and reserve personnel to cadets, veterans and military families, turned out at a number of events across the country to join in the celebrations.
From Stirling to Southampton, more than 108 events were today held by communities across the country with parades, salutes, fayres and flypasts taking place to mark the occasion.
Tributes from across the country
Armed Forces Day 2023 kicked off in style with tributes being paid to the Armed Forces community across the country.
His Majesty The King has also today paid tribute to the “immense and dedicated” contribution of UK service personnel, to mark Armed Forces Day 2023. In a message of support, His Majesty acknowledged “the selfless service and sacrifice” the Armed Forces make, whilst also thanking the wider Armed Forces community, including military families and veterans, for the role they play in allowing service personnel to fulfil their duties.
As part of Armed Forces Day celebrations, Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak MP, also visited troops based at Wellington Barracks in Central London yesterday to thank them for their dedication to service, following their recent involvement in Trooping the Colour.
“From Estonia to the Indo-Pacific, as well as here at home, our Armed Forces personnel protect and defend our freedom every day of every year.
“Much of that service we do not see and often take for granted, but this year we have been privileged to watch thousands of our military on parade for the Coronation, in what was a showcase of our forces’ phenomenal precision and professionalism.
“So I know I speak for the entire country on this Armed Forces Day, when I say thank you to every soldier, sailor and aviator, and their families, who form part of our brilliant Armed Forces.”
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.
A gathering of gratitude in Cornwall
At the National Event, in the picturesque Cornish town of Falmouth, members of the Armed Forces took part in a tri-service parade which featured over 1,000 military personnel, veterans and cadets.
The Parade was watched by The Duke of Gloucester before service personnel then presented His Royal Highness with the Royal Salute. This was followed by a flypast from RAF Red Arrows a A400M aircraft, a Merlin and Avenger Helicopter brought the formal proceedings of the morning to a close.
“Armed Forces Day recognises the commitment and resilience demonstrated by our entire Armed Forces community every day of the year.
“I hope the entire nation will join me today in paying tribute to this community and recognise all those who make so many sacrifices to uphold the freedoms and rights of the British people.”
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace.
The Armed Forces Day National Event also featured a number of air displays from the RAF Red Arrows again, Typhoon combat aircraft and helicopters, amongst many others. There were also opportunities to get a better understanding of the role of the Armed Forces in the joint military village and HMS Richmond opens its doors for public tours.
Hosted by Cornwall Council in Falmouth, this year’s National Event saw around 100,000 visitors descend upon the seaside town from all corners of the United Kingdom.
Cornwall is home to around 39,000 veterans and 1 in 5 people in Cornwall have a personal or family connection to the Armed Forces.
‘’The Armed Forces are at the heart of every Cornish community, and these celebrations have been based on respect, admiration and real gratitude.
“Cornwall has always been of strategic importance – as guardian of the world’s busiest shipping lane, as an innovator of military invention, and as a proud home to service personnel and their families. May it always be looked on by them as safe harbour, a brave ally, and the source of an enduring and welcoming homecoming.‘’
Leader of Cornwall Council, Cllr Linda Taylor.
Falmouth was chosen to host this year’s Armed Forces Day National Event following a competitive bidding process. As lead partner for this year, Cornwall Council highlighted its strong engagement with a multitude of stakeholders and had previous experience of delivering large-scale events, such as the G7 in June 2021.
On duty 24/7 365 days a year
Now in its 15th year, Armed Forces Day is the culmination of a week of events which celebrate the entire Armed Forces community and all that they stand for, thanking them for defending our way of life, protecting British citizens around the world, and strengthening our relationships with our allies and partners. It also recognises the service and sacrifice the families of serving personnel make.
From training with NATO Allies in Eastern Europe to training Ukrainian recruits at home, the Armed Forces are on duty 24/7 365 days a year. Today, on Armed Forces Day 2023, over 14,000 sailors, marines, soldiers, and aviators are based overseas and deployed on operations, serving on 33 operations in 28 countries.