Thousands set to celebrate our armed forces

HMS Illustrious leaves Portsmouth for the last time
Picture: Shaun Roster

RETRO: Watch the last voyage of HMS Illustrious from Portsmouth

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WARSHIPS HMS Gloucester and HMS Daring are set to be the stars of the show at Armed Forces Weekend in Portsmouth.

The public can nosey around Gloucester for the last time before the Type 42 destroyer is sold and they will be able to contrast her with Daring, the first of the new breed of Type 45 destroyers.

Thousands of people are expected to flood into Portsmouth Historic Dockyard over the weekend of Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26 to celebrate our armed forces and mark the centenary of the Royal Naval Museum.

Organisers say the annual event will be ‘bigger and better than ever’ this year.

Jacquie Shaw, of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard said: ‘We are proud to be showing support for British armed forces and naval heritage with a fantastic weekend of free events.’

On the Saturday, from 2pm to 4.30pm, the Victory arena will be transformed into a 1940s style street party, complete with a wartime tea, jazz music and lindy hop dancing.

Brave visitors can try out rationing favourites like eggless fruitcake, mock crab sandwiches and spam.

Setting the scene will be a variety of Second World War vehicles and people dressed in 1940s costumes.

But most importantly, there will be a chance speak to war veterans and hear their stories.

HMS Gloucester and HMS Daring will be open to the public from 10am to 3.30pm on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Gloucester, which served in the First Gulf War, returned to Portsmouth Naval Base for the last time on Monday flying her decommissioning pennant.

On the Sunday, from 11am to 4.30pm, celebrations will be held to mark 100 years since the Royal Naval Museum opened in Portsmouth. There will be face painters, balloon modellers and a bouncy castle, as well as a naval twist on traditional party games. A historical Punch and Judy show and the cutting of a centenary cake will round off the weekend of celebration.