The Royal Navy and Royal Marines helped promote Armed Forces Day at various events across the UK over the weekend. Cities and towns across the country pulled out all the stops to show strength of support for the three Services for the national day of celebration on Saturday June 29.
The Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas was among a large navy contingent taking part in the Cardiff Armed Forces Day event.
Joining the Royal Navy’s most senior officer were crew members of HMS Monmouth, which is affiliated to its Welsh namesake town and county, and Royal Navy Reserves from HMS Cambria in Penarth, as well as Royal Marines Reserves, and the Corps of Drums of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band from Commando Training Centre, Lympstone.
Sea Cadets from the local area also joined the parade in the grounds of Cardiff Castle.
Admiral Zambellas was part of a party of dignitaries taking the parade salute. A tour of the Coopers Field ground at the castle followed, before an open air service concluded the formal element of the proceedings.
“I am honoured to have been invited as the senior Armed Forces representative for this spectacular Cardiff event,” said Admiral Zambellas.
“Armed Forces Day is a particularly special occasion for all our servicemen and women, full time and reserve, serving or retired, as these are events organised by communities to show support and recognition for our sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen and the work which they do on behalf of our country around the world.
“We appreciate the honour which Cardiff has bestowed on us with this special parade and service, and continue to thank the public for their unstinting and fond support.”
Naval town Plymouth is also hosting a week of events to commemorate the Armed Forces Day initiative.
Special events and activities take place across the city each year to raise awareness of the city’s service community and celebrate the outstanding contribution it makes to our country, as well as forge closer links between the armed forces and young people.
The city will welcome thousands of visitors from home and abroad to join in honouring and paying tribute to the dedication of the nation’s serving personnel, veterans and their families, as well as the many agencies that support them.
Portsmouth also held a series of events as 12,000 visitors flocked to the Naval Base to climb on board two warships which opened their gangways for Armed Forces Weekend.
Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender and Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster attracted 12,289 visitors between them, offering an insight into life in the Royal Navy.
Commander Phil Nash, HMS Defender’s Commanding Officer, said:
“It was a huge pleasure to be able to welcome members of the public to HMS Defender throughout the Armed Forces Weekend.
“Visitors were able to see a good deal of the inside of the ship and got a real sense of what we in the Royal Navy do on a day to day basis – not only how and why we deploy around the world on operations, but also how we live, eat, sleep and work on board this state of the art destroyer.”
Displays on both ships included fire fighting, small arms weapons, boarding team operations and safety at sea.
HMS Westminster’s Commanding Officer, Captain Hugh Beard, added:
“It was a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with the public which is important as 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.”
And in a video message of support from Prime Minster David Cameron, he said:
“Armed Forces Day is about reminding the British people that everyday, as we go about our business, there are extraordinary men and women all over the world, and indeed right here at home, who risk their lives for our safety and security.
“Let us show everyone in our Armed Forces just how proud we are of everything that they do.”
The national event was held in Nottingham and opened in spectacular style with local Reserve unit, 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (V) firing a volley of gun blasts in a “feu du joie” – “fire of joy” – from Nottingham Castle.
A spectacular tri-Service parade then made its way from the Castle to the Old Market Square for a Drumhead Service attended by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
Press Release, July 1 2013; Image: Royal Navy