Visitors explore Portsmouth Dockyard on Armed Forces Day

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THOUSANDS of visitors poured into Portsmouth Dockyard to support and discover more about our sailors on Armed Forces Day.

Supporters of the area’s servicemen and women were greeted by sailors in their finery – and various working dress – as they showed off what they can do.

PRIDE Former Able Seaman and Arctic Convoys veteran Cornelius Snelling, 90, from Horsham, and son-in-law Mark Holmes at Armed Forces Day in Portsmouth Dockyard

PRIDE Former Able Seaman and Arctic Convoys veteran Cornelius Snelling, 90, from Horsham, and son-in-law Mark Holmes at Armed Forces Day in Portsmouth Dockyard

Captain Hugh Beard, the commanding officer of HMS Westminster was welcoming families aboard his ship.

The Type 23 frigate and Type 45 HMS Defender are both open to the public this weekend (until 4pm on Sunday).

Cpt Beard said: ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with the public because so much of what the Royal Navy does these days is far away from UK shores.

‘The navy these days is busier than it’s ever been before, we still do the same number of tasks but we’ve got less ships.’

Youngsters got to grips with the ship’s defences, including the General Purpose Machine Gun and small arms, along with learning from engineers how they fight fires on the ship.

Mum Emma Collins-Powney, 39, of Dover Road, in Copnor, took her son Evan, nine, to see HMS Westminster.

Evan’s step-dad, Able Seaman specialist James Thompson, is stationed onboard.

Dressed in military fatigues, little Evan was making the most of the visit to the ship.

Emma said: ‘This is a great opportunity to come down and have a look around.

‘And to be part of the ship, especially when you’ve got family and friends serving on it.

‘There’s so many different things happening today.’

The day recognises those in the services, both past and present.

Over at the Victory arena was Arctic Convoys and D-Day veteran, former Able Seaman Cornelius Snelling.

He told The News he was stopped by people all across the base who wanted to talk to him about his experiences.

The 90-year-old, of Horsham, Sussex was with his son-in-law Mark Holmes, 40.

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