Portsmouth comes together to pay respects on Armed Forces Day

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THE city came together to pay its respects to military personnel on Armed Forces Day.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard was awash with those serving their country as well as veterans and cadets on a glorious day to mark the poignant occasion in front of gatherers who turned out to show their gratitude.

The Armed Forces Day flag

The Armed Forces Day flag

The free event started with a ceremonial flag raising before there were live displays by the city’s Military Wives’ Choir and Rose and Thistle Pipes and Drums, the Royal Marines School of Music and a Michael Bublé and Abba tribute act. 

An armed forces parade captured the imagination of those watching as service men and women, as well as veterans, performed with military precision despite the heat.

Naval base commander, commodore Jeremy Bailey paid his respects to the armed forces community a decade on from the inaugural Armed Forces Day.

He said: ‘Today is a day when we come together to show our support for the contributions the armed forces make towards our country and to recognise the work they do when representing our country.’

Commodore Bailey said the day was an opportunity to ‘celebrate’ the work of the armed forces – with the country currently involved in 35 operations across the world.

He stressed the day was also about the families of those who serve as well as veterans. He added: ‘We have to remember there is incredible pressure on the families of those in the military so today is also a chance to thank them. It’s also important to thank the reservists who are deployed alongside serving personnel.

‘The day is also a celebration for the veterans who were recently the focal point of the D-Day 75 anniversary.

‘Portsmouth plays a significant part in the armed forces with it having a significant link between the military and the nation. We thank you for your support.’

Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson paid tribute to the ‘vital’ role the armed forces perform.

Veterans were appreciative of the support they received too. Stephen Marcham, who served in the Grenadier Guards, said: ‘It’s a special occasion and pleasing for people to respect the work we all do or have done.’