Portsmouth marks Armed Forces Day with free bonanza

THOUSANDS of people are expected to turn out today to celebrate the nation's military as the area marks Armed Forces Day.

Saturday, 30th June 2018, 11:30 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:02 pm
Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gnr Ryan Hancock pictured at last year's Armed Forces Day. PHOTO: Habibur Rahman PPP-170625-000554006

The annual event aims to celebrate the brave men and women who protect the UK by serving in the armed forces.

Portsmouth is staging its bonanza at Southsea Common.

Running until 4pm, there is a host of military-themed fun on the cards, from weapon displays, parades, bands, and military vehicle displays, to activities for children.

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Main attractions will include a Lynx Helicopter, band of HM Royal Marines and the Lighting Bolt army parachute display.

The event, sponsored by defence giant BAE Systems, is free to attend.

The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is also supporting the celebration with its own set of events.

The day-long programme of events includes two military utility vehicles and the ever-popular Royal Marines School of Music’s marching band will be entertaining crowds as they march through the site from 1.30pm. Visitors can also enjoy the musical stylings of Dotty Duo, Fine Voice Academy Chorus, and the Royal Marines Association Dance Band under the canopy in the port arena alongside HMS Victory.

Paul Morgan, Susan Dolman, Ken Hawkins, Felicity Wood and Lorraine Barrow on a 1944 Willys Jeep in Southsea. Photo Habibur Rahman

As a one-off, families can visit Action Stations free of charge to take part in activities. There is a mine sweep challenge plus this year, the doors of The National Museum of the Royal Navy galleries will be opening for free.

John Rawlinson, director of visitor experience of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: ‘Armed Forces Day is a highlight for us each year when we can show our support for the armed forces.

‘We are honoured to welcome veterans on site and our visitors love to meet them and share their memories. It’s a special day for us all.’

A free shuttle bus will run regularly between Southsea Common and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard during the event.

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood will also be taking pride of place at the tenth Armed Forces Day National Event in Llandudno in Wales.

The Fareham-based band will form part of the military parade marching through the seaside town this afternoon.