Cardiff ready for Armed Forces Day celebrations

A day in the life of a Royal Navy warship, HMS Kent

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Preparations are underway for Armed Forces Day, the annual event to show support for UK troops and those who lost their lives in battle, being hosted by Cardiff.

Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent has docked in the city to help lead the events.

The day on Saturday takes place at the end of a week which saw the 300th British soldier die in Afghanistan.

There will also be a series of events in towns and cities across the UK.

The day-long celebrations will begin with a military parade from Cardiff Castle to Cardiff Bay and the city's waterfront, where a range of events, activities and artistic performances will be staged on land, sea and air.

The parade will be led by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Cardiff castle A flag raising event for Armed Forces Day was held at Cardiff Castle

The day will see fly-overs by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Red Arrows and Helicopter Formation.

HMS Kent, which has been away from home on operations for 15 of the last 24 months, will be open to the public in Cardiff Bay to visit as part of the celebrations on Saturday.

BBC News' Wales correspondent Colette Hume, who has been on board HMS Kent for the last 24 hours said the time at sea "meant long periods of separation for the ship's crew and their families".

She said: "For the crew of HMS Kent, Armed Forces Day means public recognition for an ever-increasing workload often thousands of miles from home."

Start Quote

I am rather hoping the hordes will come and have a look at us”

End Quote Commander Nick Cooke-Priest Commanding officer HMS Kent

Commander Nick Cooke-Priest, commanding officer of HMS Kent, said: "We are probably more efficient and flexible than we've ever been before.

"But if you operate at optimum activity for long periods of time, ultimately you increase the risk and the pressure and you therefore increase your chance of losing flexibility and ultimately breaking."

He added: "We're not there yet."

He said Armed Forces Day was a fantastic initiative.

"There are fewer people in the armed forces than ever before which means fewer people in the general public will know someone in the armed forces.

"This gives us a tremendous opportunity to open ourselves up and perhaps help the understanding of what we do. I am rather hoping the hordes will come and have a look at us."

Other events in Cardiff include:

  • A traditional Drumhead Service in Roald Dahl Plass
  • Fly-overs by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Red Arrows and Helicopter Formation
  • Arena displays in Roald Dahl Plass including the Royal Marine Commando Display Team, and the Royal Marine Band
  • Military displays representing all of the armed forces throughout Cardiff Bay
  • Search and rescue Sea King rescue display on the water
  • The opportunity to go aboard HMS Kent docked in Roath Basin for the weekend
  • An evening of stage performances featuring The Soldiers and Only Men Aloud
  • A firework finale over the waters of Cardiff Bay

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