Armed Forces Day parade proposed for Portsmouth

Soldiers from the 25/170 (Imjin) Battery, part of the 47 Regiment, on parade in Portsmouth after returning from Afghanistan last year

Soldiers from the 25/170 (Imjin) Battery, part of the 47 Regiment, on parade in Portsmouth after returning from Afghanistan last year

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THOUSANDS of sailors, soldiers and airmen could march through Portsmouth as part of a proposed Armed Forces Day parade.

Following the signing of an Armed Forces Community Covenant for the city suggestions have been put forward for concrete ways to recognise people in the services and their families.

The leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said a huge parade was part of a range of ideas proposed at a recent conference at the Royal Naval Club in Queen Street to discuss the covenant.

Also suggested at the meeting – which was attended by representatives from the voluntary services and the military – were measures to ensure armed forces families don’t miss out on school places, housing and health services.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We talked about a whole range of different things that we could do.

‘They range from the idea of an Armed Forces Day parade, to how we could welcome people back when they have been away for a long time.

‘It would be a parade through the city for everybody in the forces, whether its navy, army or the air force.

‘They could march through the city including part of Commercial Road and gather together in Guildhall Square.

‘It is so people could see how many people in the city are in the forces, but also to show thanks and respect to those serving.

‘It would also be good for their families to see that as well. Armed Forces Day seemed like a good day to do it. At the moment all we do is raise the flag so it would be good to do something more.’

He added that more details would be released when the council had fully investigated how the parade would be organised.

The leader of the council’s Conservative group, Cllr Simon Bosher, said he supported the proposal.

‘It’s a fabulous idea,’ he said.

‘I have got absolutely no problem with it whatsoever.

‘Portsmouth is inextricably linked with the armed forces and you only have to look at the Armistice Day parade to see how many thousands of people would turn out to support it.’

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