Rally of support for Armed Forces Day

LEST WE FORGET Royal Marines veterans march in a parade at the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney in honour of fallen comrades. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131837-3)
LEST WE FORGET Royal Marines veterans march in a parade at the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney in honour of fallen comrades. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131837-3)
British military dog Mali who has received the PDSA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross with his current handler Corporal Daniel Hatley

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Events across the city marked Armed Forces Day.

Saturday saw people in the area and beyond come together in Portsmouth to celebrate the work of our armed servicemen and women.

Families clambered on board two warships in the dockyard and fired field guns in Victory arena while others dusted for mock-IEDs at Action Stations.

Even more youngsters raced up a climbing wall at Action Stations, while sailors gave a firefighting demonstation outside on Mast Pond.

Dionne Hibbs, 41, of Juniper Road, in Horndean, was with her sons Samuel, three, and Joshua, eight, at the dockyard.

Their dad Petty Officer Stuart Hibbs is a navy clearance diver on deployment on HMS Quorn.

Joshua said: ‘We’ve been watching the fire display and learning how to put them out.

‘My favourite bit was dressing up in fire kit – the shoes are really big.

‘We’re going to go and look around the ships.’

Mum Dionne added: ‘My husband’s on deployment at the moment – he’s been away for six months.

‘We just try and keep the boys involved so they understand what he does, why he’s away.

‘Obviously it’s difficult for them when they see everyone else’s dads doing typical jobs coming home.’

Earlier on Saturday morning, 40 dog walkers got together for Hounds for Heroes.

They set off from the coastal path by the Harvester on Eastern Road, Portsmouth.

Former navy officer Allen Parton, of Clanfield, is the charity’s founder.

He said: ‘We gently walked down to the memorial on the foreshore down there.

‘There were even cars stopping to put money in the bucket, which was really humbling.

‘It does send a message out to those 900,000 injured servicemen and women and those on the front line that people care.

‘It was lovely to have so many local people from Portsmouth supporting the cause.’

The charity was set up by serving and ex-service people to enable their own disabled, injured and traumatised colleagues.

Meanwhile on Sunday, about 200 people turned out to take part in the Pompey Paras’ annual parade, organised by the local branch of the Parachute Regimental Association & Airborne Forces.

The parade featured two guards, as well as 20 visiting Belgian paras and 10 Marines.

After laying a wreath in the garden of remembrance opposite the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney, prayers were held and an inspection carried out, before the parade fell out to enjoy music from the HMS Sultan band back at the Royal Marines Association’s club house.

Branch Secretary John Newman said: ‘It was good chance to catch up with old friends and meet up with new friends afterwards.

‘It was an enjoyable day.’