Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

WW2 planes lead forces celebration

The Red Arrows will fly over Nottingham in honour of Armed Forces Day

Iconic aircraft from the Second World War have wowed the crowds in Nottingham as the city led the national Armed Forces Day celebrations.

The Dakota, Spitfire, Lancaster bomber and Hurricane of The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight took to the skies of the city, which was chosen to host the national event this year.

Events have also been taking place across the UK to mark the fifth Armed Forces Day, honouring service personnel past and present.

In the host city of Nottingham, more than 600 Armed Services personnel, veterans and cadets took part in a parade through the city centre. A volley of celebratory gun blasts started the day's events at Nottingham Castle before the parade marched through the city's streets to the Old Market Square.

Thousands of well-wishers and veterans lined the streets to watch, waving flags and cheering as they enjoyed the parade and flypasts by the Red Arrows and a Typhoon. A Drumhead Service, usually conducted in the field during armed conflicts, was held in the square - allowing those gathered to reflect on the Armed Forces past and present.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the event, with His Royal Highness taking the salute on behalf of The Queen and Royal Family. They were joined by the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, and the new Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach.

Among those taking part in the parade was Lt Sam Vause, from the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, who spent four months in Afghanistan this year training other soldiers. Lt Vause, 25, from Derby, said: "It's been a magnificent day and a great honour to take part in the Armed Forces day national event in the Mercian's home county. It was a truly humbling experience to see the people of Nottingham come out and show their support for the Armed Forces on such a large scale."

Speaking ahead of Saturday's events, Prime Minister David Cameron, said: "Armed Forces Day is about reminding the British people that every day, 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."

The Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Merlita Bryan, said: "I was humbled by the strength of support shown to our servicemen and women who make enormous sacrifices on our behalf, and would like to sincerely thank everyone involved who contributed to the event's success."

More than 300 events were held in towns across the UK to celebrate Armed Forces Day. Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall attended the Armed Forces Day event at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. And events were also held in Puerto Pollensa, Spain, and Ornasions, France.

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