11 days to go
Saturday 30th June 2012
By Alison Seabeck MP, Shadow Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology
This year’s National Service for Armed Forces Day will take place in Plymouth, a City steeped in Naval history, and one which bore the full force of the Luftwaffe’s aerial bombardment leaving over a thousand citizens dead and many more very seriously injured.
Plymouth has, as you would expect, a very active British Legion and, although their standard bearers are not getting any younger, the turnout on Remembrance Day and when celebrating and remembering our service personnel at other events is always impressive.
Standing alongside the Legion will be many of the young people from our cadet forces – growing in number and many coming from families with a long and distinguished service record.
On Plymouth Hoe where the service will take place the VIPs will be standing yards from the City’s War Memorial, yards from a memorial to the Royal Marines many of whom are locally based, and yards from the Royal Air Force and Allied Air Forces Monument the only memorial to the international pilots and ground staff anywhere in the world. Sadly one of the men behind it, Jim Davis a former rear gunner, died earlier this year. It was built largely by private donations from the people of Plymouth. The Hoe is also home to a memorial to animals who played a part in the war particularly in terms of raising morale – Blitz the dog is mentioned!
There are so many elements to National Armed Forces Day including giving the nation’s thanks to those currently serving across the globe in all three services. We are ever mindful of the risks they take on our behalf and I know that when I am standing on Plymouth Hoe for this year’s event that they will be in my thoughts and in the thoughts of the many millions of people who will be joining in the celebration nationally.