Thousands of people have celebrated the men and women of the Armed Forces past and present at events up and down the country to mark the seventh annual Armed Forces Day.
Events have ranged from large scale parades to simple community events, but the main focus of attention was at the National Event in Guildford, attended by His Royal Highness The Duke of York.
Celebrations began with a service of celebration at Guildford Cathedral, at which the Defence Secretary gave a reading. A parade of more than 900 Service personnel, veterans and cadets then marched through the historic heart of Guildford, from the High Street to the outdoor events arena at Stoke Park.
The Duke of York took the salute on the parade route on behalf of The Queen and Royal Family, as the world famous Red Arrows roared over in tribute.
Afternoon celebrations continued at Stoke Park with a variety of military displays including a Royal Air Force GR4 Tornado flypast. Visitors also enjoyed seeing displays from a Sea King search and rescue team, and flying overhead the Spitfire and Hurricane from the RAF Battle of Britain memorial Flight and the Swordfish biplane from the Royal Navy Historic Flight.
In addition, crowds of an estimated 60,000 were treated to three parachute displays from the Royal Navy Raiders, the Army Red Devils and the RAF Falcons, as well as a demonstration from the Royal Signals White Helmet motorbike Display Team on the ground.
The Red Arrows took to the skies again as the military celebrations drew to a close, accompanied by a tri-Service group of military bands made up of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Portsmouth, the Band of the Grenadier Guards, and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force.
Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said:
“I’m delighted to see the people of Guildford leading today’s Armed Forces Day celebrations on behalf of the United Kingdom. Armed Forces Day is a chance for people to say thank you to the extraordinary men and women all over the world who dedicate their lives to protecting our safety and security.
Worshipful Mayor of Guildford Nikki Nelson-Smith said:
“What a truly spectacular way for Guildford to lead the celebrations for Armed Forces Day, and honour the commitment and dedication of Britain’s service men and women, past and present. I am proud that so many residents and visitors joined to give a heartfelt welcome to the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, and show their appreciation and support for the regulars, reserves, veterans and cadets. My sincere thanks go to all those involved in making this a day to remember.”
Alongside the celebrations in Guildford, more than 150 events were held in towns and cities across the UK.