Thousands expected to take part in Armed Forces Day
Published: 30th Jun 2012 00:03:48
Special events are due to be held across Britain to celebrate national Armed Forces Day.
From city centre parades to village tea parties, tens of thousands are expected to turn out and show their support.
Among the highlights will be a veterans march across Tower Bridge in central London and flypasts in several towns and cities.
The event coincides with the arrival of the Olympic Torch at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
The Arboretum, where planting began in 1997, is designed to provide a "living tribute to the wartime generations of the 20th Century".
The Olympic Flame will arrive at the site during its journey from Derby to Birmingham on day 43 of the relay leading up to the Games.
Corporal Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross - the highest decoration for valour in the Commonwealth Armed Forces - in 2005, will carry the torch at the UK's centre of Remembrance.
The 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment soldier - one of of only six living recipients of the Victoria Cross - was invested with the medal after saving members of his unit from ambushes in 2004 in Iraq, suffering serious head injuries in the second engagement.
Plymouth has been chosen to host this year's main national celebrations, with displays scheduled to take place "on land, sea and in the air."
In London, veterans will parade across Tower Bridge at midday, accompanied by a cannon salute and flypast with live music planned for later in the day.
Visitors to the garrison town of Carrickfergus, County Antrim, will be treated to a flypast by Tornado jets, while the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones is due to attend an Armed Forces Day parade in Cardiff city centre.
In Edinburgh, veterans will parade along King's Stables Road and through Princes Street Gardens from 1pm, while about 1,000 people are expected to join the Armed Forces Day march through Glasgow city centre, which will include a fly-past of Typhoon jets.
The Countess of Wessex will be the guest of honour at a celebration of Armed Forces Day - and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
She will attend the Tyne and Wear Diamond Jubilee Gala as Honorary Colonel-in-Chief of Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps and will present campaign medals to 201 (Northern) Field Hospital (Volunteers) who have recently returned from active service in Afghanistan.
In Oxfordshire the national Repatriation Bell will be unveiled at Brize Norton, opposite the county's memorial garden.
The bell is situated on the route between RAF Brize Norton and The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where the bodies of British servicemen and women are taken when they are returned to Britain.
It will toll during repatriation ceremonies.
Veterans' Day was first celebrated in Britain in 2006. The annual event was renamed Armed Forces Day in 2009.
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