Weston-super-Mare hosts spectacular Armed Forced Day with Royal Marines from 40 Commando marching along the historic Royal Parade for the first time in 9 years.
Led by The Band of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth and joined by local veterans and cadets, the procession headed north along the promenade before returning towards the Winter Gardens for the official salute from HM Lord Lieutenant, marking the start of the Armed Forces Day celebrations. “This is a perfect day for the Royal Marines to parade down the beautiful iconic Somerset prom at Weston-super-mare and to learn more about the important work the Royal Marines do for the United Kingdom” said HM Lord Lieutenant, Mr Mohammed Saddiq.
The Lord Lieutenant was joined by the Mayor of Weston-super-Mare Councillor Ciaran Cronnelly, who said “The freedom of the town was the greatest ceremonial honour we could bestow on an organisation, and we granted that freedom to 40 Commando, Royal Marines in 2014. Since that time a lot has happened locally, nationally, and globally. Many things have changed but one thing has remained constant and that is Weston-super-Mare’s continued and enduring support for our armed forces and the respect we hold for all past and present troops. Weston-super-Mare has a strong relationship with the armed forces – having granted our first freedom to RAF Locking in the 1950s – and for many decades we have celebrated our armed forces and the community that support them – and the town always came out in force to show their commitment.”
The Armed Forces Village, located in The Italian Gardens, played host to the Armed Forces Day celebrations with displays from the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Band and music by the Polka Dot Preaches. Temperatures soared to more than 24C, topping out as one of the hottest weekends of the year so far. The day provided an opportunity to showcase the work of the local Armed Forces family and show support for those who make up the Armed Forces community: from serving troops to their families, veterans, and the cadets, with the whole town enjoying the celebrations.
“We are delighted to be a part of Armed Forces Day and celebrate alongside people in Weston-super-Mare.” said Lt Col Oliver Denning, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando Royal Marines. “The Commando Unit has enjoyed a strong affiliation with Weston-super-Mare for 14 years when we were awarded the honour of Freedom of the Town back in June 2014 so it’s really special that we are back here today, honoured to be able to march with the Royal Marines Band Service and maintain this vital link with the community.”
The event in Weston was held two weeks earlier this year, with the national Armed Forces Day taking place on the last Saturday in June, ensuring Commandos could take part in the day, before a busy year ahead.
This year’s celebrations hold special significance for 40 Commando Royal Marines as they simultaneously prepare for an upcoming overseas deployment which has been years in the making. The Marines have undergone rigorous training from the jungles of Brunei and deserts of Oman to the harsh frozen terrain of the arctic circle, ensuring they are ready to respond to a wide range of taskings and threats.
Photos by Heidi Burton