Families mark Armed Forces Day

PATRIOTIC Singer Heather Marie at the historic dockyard. Picture: Steve Reid (122251-869)
PATRIOTIC Singer Heather Marie at the historic dockyard. Picture: Steve Reid (122251-869)
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FAMILIES showed their support for the armed forces in a day of activities at Portsmouth’s naval base.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy, in the historic dockyard, marked this year’s Armed Forces Day with a day of family fun inside the base.

MEMORIES Arthur Bailey and Belgian Louis Crab. (122253-229)

MEMORIES Arthur Bailey and Belgian Louis Crab. (122253-229)

Youngsters dressed up as servicemen and women and found out what was in a sailor’s ration pack.

They carved their own warships out of wood and sat behind the wheel of military vehicles from past and present.

Meanwhile, other parts of the naval base were transported back to the 1940s as part of the event on Saturday.

Inside the Victory arena was a street party, with cooking demonstrations of rationed recipes including eggless fruitcake and mock crab sandwiches.

Michael Aram, 38, served on board HMS Invicible, HMS Illustrious and HMS Ark Royal during his career with the Royal Navy.

He brought his seven-year-old son Lachlan to Portsmouth Naval Base at the weekend to see the warships.

Michael said: ‘My son wanted to see some of the ships so we brought him down here.

‘It’s great what they had going on down here, especially as it is Armed Forces Day.

‘We have had a really good time and there was lots to be doing which was nice.’

‘We should get behind the forces and support them every way we can, every day of the year.’

People were also given the chance to speak to veterans about their own experiences in the armed forces.

Bill Williams, of the Gosport Submariners Association, was there on the day with other submariners to raise money for the HMS Alliance appeal.

Submariners spent the day playing games with children and telling visitors about their experience of life in the service.

He said: ‘Armed Forces Day is very important, not only to me but to all the armed forces wherever they are.

‘It has been fantastic here to see so many people turn out for Armed Forces Day.

‘We have been talking to people who are interested in submarines and it’s good because people of all generations have come along.’

The HMS Alliance appeal aims to restore the Second World War submarine which is based at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, in Gosport.

The museum also brought over a giant submarine torpedo for visitors to see.

Meanwhile, wandering around with the visitors were a number of people dressed up in 1940s clothing.

And a children’s historical interpreter carried out interactive war re-enactments with youngsters.

PARAS CELEBRATE WITH PARADE AND LAYING OF WREATHS

PROUD veterans marked Airborne Forces Day with a stunning parade.

Veterans from the Portsmouth branch of the Parachute Regimental Association and Airborne Forces gathered at the Royal Marines Association club house in Dunn Close, Eastney, on Sunday to mark the day.

They held a wreath-laying ceremony before taking part in a parade in front of the Royal Marines Museum’s Garden of Remembrance.

The Portsmouth paras were accompanied by the drums of the Royal Marines as they marched.

Then the ex-servicemen headed back to the club house for a chance to catch up.

Mike Powell, 64, from Petersfield, said: ‘It was a fantastic day and in many cases people who had fought and suffered together were there.

‘It is also a very emotive day.

‘We had a wreath-laying ceremony and we marched in step.

‘We had a good number of people turn up and the weather was excellent so we have all had a very good day.

‘Already people are hoping we can do the same thing again next year.’

A group of Belgian paras was invited to spend the weekend in Portsmouth by the city’s group.

At the ceremony yesterday, Sergeant Major Chris Vandeput, the chairman of the Leuven branch of the Belgian paras association, presented the Portsmouth group with a ceremonial plaque.