Crowds to get in line for Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day celebrations in Edinburgh in 2013. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Armed Forces Day celebrations in Edinburgh in 2013. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A 350-strong military parade will march through the heart of the Capital this weekend to mark Armed Services Day.

The public are being encouraged to line the streets to show their appreication of veterans and serving members of all three armed forces.

The 15-minute parade on Saturday is due to leave Johnston Terrace at 11.30am before moving down the Lawnmarket, along George IV Bridge Street and down Candlemaker Row to the Grassmarket.

It will culminate in a formal address from the Lord Provost Donald Wilson and David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland, in the cobbled area of the historic market place.

The event, now in its seventh year, is a chance for people to show their appreciation for the courage of and self-sacrifice of service personnel past and present.

Lieutenant colonel Robert Connolly of the Royal Regiment of the Scots, who is co-ordinating the march, said it was “critical” for serving men and women to know they had the support of the public.

He added: “As serving soldiers, we recognise that support from home is all important, particularly when you are in a foreign theatre [of war] and your family is at home.

“Understanding that the public support them as individuals and as soldiers is critical.

“From a personal 
perspective there are two tours – the one the serving soldier does and the one that his family, in particular his wife, does back in the UK.”

He also urged people aged “from five to 85” to come out to show their support on the day or browse the military and charity stalls in the Grassmarket.

There will also be opportunities to mingle with soldiers and veterans between 12pm and 3pm after the official event is over.

A rolling road closure with drivers being asked to ‘stop and hold’ will cause some disruption between 9am and 11am in Abbeymount, Abbeyhill, the Royal Mile, Victoria Street, the Grassmarket and King’s Stable Road.

From 6pm on Friday until 12pm on the day of the event cars and other vehicles will not be able to load or unload along the length of the route.

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards’ “Waterloo Squadron” will march before the parade to commemorate the Bicentenary of The Battle of Waterloo.

Across Scotland events are being planned with parades, military displays, civic receptions, music and entertainment.

Armed Forces Day provides an opportunity to highlight the contribution of the armed forces, including service personnel, reservists, and the wider family of veterans and cadets.

Armed Forces Day is the culmination of a week of celebrations which started on Monday with the raising of the Armed Forces Day flag at locations across the UK.

Celebrations so far have also included Reserves Day on Tuesday when the thousands of men and women who make up the Reserve Forces put on their uniforms to go to their civilian workplace.