When is Armed Forces Day 2021? Will the Red Arrows be flying?

Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to honour the brave servicemen and women in our communities.
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Armed Forces Day is a day to show support to people in our armed forces – from veterans to those currently serving.

Whether they are in the Royal Navy, British Army, or Royal Air Force, it’s a chance to thank our troops and their families for their hard work and the sacrifices they have made.

When is Armed Forces Day 2021?

Armed forces day in Glasgow's George Square, 2018 (John Devlin)Armed forces day in Glasgow's George Square, 2018 (John Devlin)
Armed forces day in Glasgow's George Square, 2018 (John Devlin)
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Armed Forces Day happens each year on the last Saturday of June.

This year, it will take place on Saturday, June 26.

However, the celebrations began on Monday (June 21), with Armed Forces Day flags raised on famous buildings, landmarks, and even people’s homes across the UK for #ArmedForcesWeek.

How is Armed Forces Day celebrated?

Armed Forces Day in Edinburgh on 22 June 2019. (Photo: Graham Clark)Armed Forces Day in Edinburgh on 22 June 2019. (Photo: Graham Clark)
Armed Forces Day in Edinburgh on 22 June 2019. (Photo: Graham Clark)

Traditionally, parades are held in towns and cities up and down the country on Armed Forces Day.

Serving military men and women, veterans, cadets, and youth organisations are accompanied by local bands and sometimes vintage military vehicles.

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However, events this year may be affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

Organisers are advised to check the local guidance for where they are to see if gatherings can safely take place.

Under Scotland’s level 1 rules, up to 12 people from 12 different households are allowed to meet outdoors.

However, according to Scottish Government guidance, marches and parades can take places in levels 0, 1, and 2.

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This is as long as organisers follow requirements to limit the risk of spreading coronavirus, and participants take measures like physical distancing and wearing face coverings.

What is the history of Armed Forces Day?

The first UK Armed Forces Day was held on June 27, 2009 at Chatham Historic Dockyard. It replaced the previous Veterans’ Day.

Each year since then, the main event has been held in a different corner of the UK. In 2011 and 2019 the march took place in Edinburgh.

But with the coronavirus pandemic, Armed Forces Day’s moved online in 2020.

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And this year the national event in Scarborough has been postponed until June 2022 due to Covid restrictions.

You can see if an event is taking place near you on the Armed Forces Day website.

But other ways to get involved include using the hashtag #SaluteOurForces, flying your own flag or bunting, or even hosting a small event with friends.

Will there be a Red Arrows display for Armed Forces Day?

The Red Arrows, also known as the Royal Air Force Acrobatic Team, has in the past performed Armed Forces Day flypasts.

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At last year’s event, the Red Arrows soared in the North Yorkshire skies above Scarborough – the town which was due to host the 2020 event that had to be cancelled.

This year, the RAF has confirmed the Red Arrows are supporting Armed Forces Day at a national event but did not disclose where this will be.

This is, a spokesperson said, “to ensure that crowds do not gather due to Covid-19 restrictions”.

However, they did confirm it would not be in Scotland.

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