Armed Forces Day : Taking pride in the military
Armed Forces Day was marked in Newark on Sunday.
A change in venue saw the event move from Sconce and Devon Park to Newark Market Place in the hope of attracting more people — and it worked, according to Nottinghamshire County Council’s Armed Forces champion Mr Keith Girling, one of the organisers.
The day started with a parade of serving members of the Armed Forces and veterans.
It included representatives from RAF College Cranwell, The Parachute Regimental Association, Grenadier Guards Association, Sherwood For-esters Association, Royal Art-illery Association, Royal British Legion and Royal Signals.
The salute was taken in the Market Place by Major Pauline Murray-Knight, based at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell; the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace; and the Mayor of Newark, Mrs Rita Crowe.
“It was a fantastic day,” said Mr Girling. “I am very proud of everyone who took part, especially the sea and army cadets on parade, who were the perfect representation of young people today.
It was a respectful day — a day of celebration, not sombre.
“The change of venue attracted more people. Newark once again did the Armed Forces proud.”
Mrs Crowe said in her speech: “Newark has for so long had such an affinity with our Armed Forces.
“When I moved here with my family in 1960, I remember the barracks on Albert Street and the army camp on Hawton Road. Bailey Road School was where the Royal Engineers were stationed during the second world war, and where the Bailey bridges were built.
“The airfields at Winthorpe, Balderton and Syerston leave us with a long-term association with the RAF and also the Sherwood Foresters, now the Mercian Regiment. RAF Cranwell and the Mercians have been granted the Freedom of Newark Town.
“In 1914 in our market square 1,000 troops met before the Great March, stopping overnight in Radcliffe before going to the trenches.
“In carrying out some research I was interested to learn that, in 1919, a tank was assigned to Newark in recognition of its fundraising efforts for munitions for our Armed Forces. £4,000 was raised per month and £208,000 for the Last Victory Loan.
“This placed Newark among the most generous in Nottinghamshire. It is hard to imagine what this amount would be worth today.
“In the second world war residents of Newark were encouraged to put money into funds to purchase Spitfires, the cost of each being £6,000.Unfortunately, my research didn’t reveal how much was actually earned.
“It is only right, therefore, that Newark should show its support and express its thanks to the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community, those serving currently, their families, veterans and cadets.
“While some towns decided not to hold an event this year, Newark is proud to have this opportunity to thank our Armed Forces for all they have done and continue to do, to protect us and support our emergency services when called to do so, enabling us to have the freedom we have today.”
There was an address by the priest-in-charge at Newark, the Rev David Pickersgill.
There was a display of military vehicles, a first world war field kitchen, Civil War demonstration and boat-rigging demonstrations as well as stalls, including some selling militaria, and a funfair for the first time.