Armed Forces Day celebrations the “biggest and best yet”

Youngster Emma Brookes with storyteller Lisa Gregg

Thousands turned out to celebrate Armed Forces Day in Dudley at the weekend, with the town’s mayor hailing it “the biggest and best yet”.

The free family day out was held by Dudley Council, in association with Black Country Housing Group, at Himley Hall and Park on Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

The highlight of the day for many was the presentation of the HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge to veterans during the afternoon.

A planned spitfire flypast by the RAF Battle of Britain Flight Memorial team did happen, albeit later than planned, going over the historic park at around 5.15pm.

In the main arena, visitors were wowed by the spectacular Beating Retreat, which brought together marching bands, standard bearers and serving personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force for a military tradition dating back centuries.

The arena also played host to a gun run drill by the Military Preparation College for Training, a drill and banner display by 347 Dudley Squadron and a performance by local singing duo, The Land Girls. They brought the event to a close on a high with music from the 1940s.

Throughout the day there was a whole host of entertainment across the park for all ages including Punch and Judy shows, story sessions, vintage rides, and a gladiator-themed army duel and bungee run. There was also paintballing provided by Dudley Army Cadet Force and an archery range put on by Kingswinford Air Cadets Squadron.

For adults there were historical talks focusing on Bletchley Park and women at war in the hall, performances by the RAF Cosford Voluntary Band and a vintage tea tent. There were antiques and vintage paraphernalia on sale from the Halfpenny Green Antique & Vintage Centre.

The popular youth marching band competition took place in the main arena throughout the morning and early afternoon.

There was also the opportunity for people to meet with reservists serving with local units, including B Squadron the Royal Yeomanry, 210 Battery 103 Royal Artillery, the 4 th battalion the Mercian Regiment and the Royal Military Police.

Regulars from 211 Squadron from 1 Signals Regiment, RAF Cosford and HMS Daring were also in attendance. Councillor Dave Tyler, the Mayor of Dudley, said:

“I was delighted to attend this wonderful event, which grows and grows in popularity with every passing year. It was certainly the biggest and best yet and it was wonderful to see veterans recognised for their efforts with the presentation of the badges.

“It was great to see people from all communities across the borough come together for a wonderful family event, and long may it continue.”


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