Portsmouth celebrates Armed Forces Day

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MEMBERS of the armed forces past and present were honoured at a celebratory commemoration.

Armed Forces Day was marked at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday, with singers, veterans and youngsters attending.

Music from the Strolling Sirens group serenaded the visitors and veterans.

Ex-sapper Paul Hyde, 81, of Seaton Avenue, Copnor, was among those who visited the dockyard hoping to meet old comrades and reminisce.

He said: ‘Present and past service personnel should be remembered for what they’ve done and what they’re doing.

‘It’s very good they have something like this today and I hope they keep it up.’

The day looks to honour serving armed forces members as well as former military personnel.

And it was made all the more poignant with the centenary commemoration of the Battle of Jutland, the largest – and most decisive – naval battle of the First World War.

Natalia Mchalska, who is a fundraiser at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, placed a poppy to mark the centenary.

She said: ‘It’s a really beautiful day, never mind the rain and the showers.

‘It’s a very important day to commemorate those who lost their lives in the battles and those who still serve in the Royal Navy today.

‘This year is an important year because of the Battle of Jutland centenary, that’s why we have the poppies here today and the 100 sign.’

Marking the occasion were the cadets from 1189 Portsmouth & 1098 Gosport Squadron who performed a drill display during the day.

Also keeping the public entertained were the Festival Players, who were dressed up in wartime era clothes.

Ian Whitewood, a member, said: ‘It’s very good, this is our fourth time doing it.

‘It’s something that ought to be done, it brings life into the dockyard.’

Youngsters were kept busy with activities at Action Stations during the day while there was also a market and music from The Three Belles, and from the Rob Richardson Jazz Band.

Also adding to the fun atmosphere were the Strolling Sirens, with Vie Portland.

Vie said: ‘It was brilliant, it was a really good community event, lots of fun and lots of people joined in.’