CITIES and towns across Scotland are to pay tribute to the nation’s servicemen and women with a series of events in the run-up to this year’s Armed Forces Day.
• Celebrations will be held on Saturday June 30, with marches planned in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, as well as many towns throughout the country
• Parade will also be held in Dundee, where the 1st Battalion Scots Guards will receive the freedom of the city
From parades in Edinburgh and Glasgow through to gala days, dances and flag-raising ceremonies, celebrations are being planned throughout the country as the fourth annual event approaches.
The main national event will take place in Plymouth on 30 June.In Edinburgh, which hosted the grand finale last year, there will be a parade of veterans from King Stables Road into Princes Street Gardens, followed by entertainment from military bands and Highland dancers.
A similar parade will take place in Glasgow, ending in the city’s George Square, where there will be music and dance performances, stalls and assault courses for youngsters.
Marches and parades will also be held in Abe rdeen, Alloa, Inverness, Stirling, Stornoway and Stranraer on various dates. A parade in Dundee on 30 June will see the 1st Battalion Scots Guards receive the freedom of the city.
The Royal Marine band joined representatives from the RAF and the Army at HMS Caledonia in Rosyth yesterday to formally launch this year’s celebrations.
Last summer, tens of thousands of people turned out alongside the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prime Minister David Cameron to enjoy a packed schedule of events including a 2,500-strong parade of military personnel, which made its from Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Park.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Colonel Phil Bates, commander of Edinburgh garrison, said public bodies and ordinary people were making the effort to ensure this year’s events prove equally successful.
“Local authorities and communities across Scotland are really working hard to provide a great day full of celebrations in support of our armed forces. It’s a chance for the public, who may not have much contact with military personnel, to meet us, speak to us about our experiences and understand a little bit better about what we get up to,” he said.
Commander Sarah West, in charge of HMS Portland and the first woman to captain a major Royal Navy warship, added: “It’s an opportunity for us to acknowledge the service of the veterans and also of the reserve forces, which contribute so much to the armed forces.”
Wing Commander Roddy Dennis, officer commanding 6 Squadron at RAF Leuchars, said: “I think it is a fantastic opportunity for us to connect with the general public.
“We rely on their support so carefully, so this gives us a chance one day in the year to allow them to think about the forces, not just those who are still serving, but our veterans who have done such a fantastic job.”
A spokesman for Veterans Scotland added: “We are reminded during this week of the exceptional bond which exists between the three services and the communities they live within and are supported by.”