If those responsible for deciding the host venue for next year’s armed forces commemorations would like some evidence in Portsmouth’s favour, we humbly suggest they could do a lot worse than looking at back copies of The News.
Because every week we carry stories that illustrate this city’s passion and respect for the military – and the reason we run these so frequently is because we know that our readership fully understands and appreciates the role that the forces have played in history and continue to play today.
The last few days are testament to this, too. Only yesterday crowds gathered on the seafront to welcome home Edinburgh, the last of the Type 42 destroyers, and her company.
A few days earlier we reported on the final preparations for the First World War remembrance centre being opened at Fort Widley by local historian Charles Haskell and his fellow enthusiasts.
This is to be expected in a city which is home to the Royal Navy and was for decades the base for Marines, but it is not just a naval link – the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, the Tigers, and there is a thriving reservist network here from all forces.
Next year sees a triple anniversary of the centenary of the start of the First World War, the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines being founded.
With strong links to all of these, we are sure that Portsmouth would be a successful and enthusiastic host city, and we know that its residents would make sure that all events would be well attended and properly observed.
From the city’s point of view, it would also be a welcome platform to show what we have to offer in this field – anything that gives our attractions such as the D-Day Museum, The Royal Marines Museum and the historic dockyard more exposure is to be welcomed, as well as the aforementioned First World War remembrance centre which has hopes to become a major regional destination in the coming months and years.
So we would urge armed forces minister Andrew Robathan to look our way. We can guarantee him he would not be disappointed.