Thousands of people across the UK celebrated the men and women of the Armed Forces community, past and present, at hundreds of events to mark the sixth annual Armed Forces Day today (28 June). Events ranged from parades to parties, but the main focus of attention was at the national event in Stirling where tens of thousands turned out to show their support.
Her Royal Highnesses The Princess Royal attended the national event, taking the salute on behalf of The Queen, as a military contingent of more than 400 Service personnel, including soldiers from the 4th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland who recently returned from Afghanistan, marched from the Esplanade of Stirling Castle through the streets of the historic city. They were joined by more than 1,200 veterans, and 200 cadets.
HRH The Princess Royal said:
It is a pleasure to attend the Armed Forces Day National Event in Stirling today. This event celebrates and expresses appreciation for the outstanding contribution the Armed Forces make to the country, and recognises the serving personnel, reservists, cadets and veterans from all three services, and their families.
Following the parade was a Drumhead Service, which provided an opportunity for reflection and thanksgiving, recognising the outstanding contribution made by the men and women of the Armed Forces, including reservists, veterans and cadets, families and friends.
Representing the Chief of the Defence Staff in Stirling was Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. He said:
I am delighted that the city of Stirling is hosting the sixth Armed Forces Day national event, leading celebrations on behalf of the United Kingdom.Armed Forces Day is a chance for people to say thank you to the men and women who make up the Armed Forces family, for their unstinting courage and dedication in securing the United Kingdom, protecting her interests at home and abroad.
Captain Frazer Stark, 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland said
It’s great to be a part of the Armed Forces Day national event here in Stirling. Having just returned from operations in Afghanistan I know just how important it is for military personnel to know that the public support us. To be here today and see the overwhelming welcome from the people of Stirling is very humbling.
The national event concluded with a flypast of old and new military aircraft including the legendary Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the world famous Red Arrows aerobatic team.
Hundreds of events were held up and down the UK, with events and businesses also backing the day. On Centre Court at Wimbledon, spectators stood to applaud the service stewards who have been a permanent fixture at the Championships since 1946, as the Armed Forces Day flag was raised at the start of the day’s play. And at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, soldiers working on the Bloodhound supersonic car project were a big hit with the crowds.
National Express announced that veterans and Service leavers applying to work for them will be guaranteed a job interview, building on the company’s existing commitment to offer interviews for driving jobs.
As well as attending an event, people showed their support on social media with over 1.2 million following Armed Forces Day on Facebook and celebrities including Stephen Fry, Ben Shepherd, Peta Todd, Bear Grylls, Robbie Fowler and Lorraine Kelly tweeting messages of support.