Armed Forces Day in Portsmouth
Portsmouth-based ships and personnel will be taking part in events held by the City Council and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard celebrating Armed Forces Day in the region.
Some 120 sailors from ships and units in the Portsmouth area will parade through the city on June 27 and two warships will be open to the public free of charge at the Naval Base on the weekend of June 29 and 30. The parade, organised by the City Council, starts at 10 am and will be led by the Portsmouth Royal Marines Band. Troops will march from St John’s Catholic Cathedral to the Guildhall Square via Edinburgh Road, Stanhope Road and Commercial Road. During a ceremony in the Guildhall Square several Arctic Convoy veterans will be presented with Arctic Star medals by the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel and Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, Rear Admiral John Lang.
Sailors from the Fareham training establishment HMS Collingwood will form the parade’s guard of honour and will be joined by five platoons comprising personnel from the Naval Base, Fleet Diving Squadron, HMS Edinburgh, Defence College of Policing and Guarding plus medics based at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
The two ships opening to visitors the following weekend are new Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender and Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster. The event forms part of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Armed Forces Weekend designed to celebrate honour and support the Armed Forces Community.
Commander Phil Nash, HMS Defender’s Commanding Officer, said: “It is a huge pleasure to be able to welcome members of the public to HMS Defender throughout the Armed Forces Weekend. “Once onboard visitors will be able to see a good deal of the inside of the ship and get 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 onboard this state of the art destroyer. “Those of us serving in HMS Defender value the warm support we receive from the public during events like these – it really does mean a lot to us and I hope that by hosting guests onboard we are able to show our thanks for that support.”
Displays on fire fighting and flooding, small arms weapons, boarding team operations and safety at sea will be on offer with crew members’ on hand to answer questions. Access to ships is free and no ticket is required to enter the historic dockyard. Gates open 10 am until 4 pm. Last entry to the ships is at 3pm.