Cadets, regulars, veterans and vehicles joined forces this weekend in Banbury Market Square to celebrate Armed Forces Day.
I know, I know – Armed Forces Day was on the 24th. But Banbury always has Armed Forces Day on the first Saturday in July. It’s a thing. Just go with it. So, off to town we went to see some drills, let Sprog try some vaguely military moves and show our support.
Armed Force Day, more than almost any other event, is one where the age range of participants always really makes it for me – from the venerable veterans who served during so many different conflicts to the youngest of the Army, Sea and Air cadets. And as always, it was lovely to see so many people show up to thank those who served and who are currently serving; for all they have done and are doing.
There was the usual parade – this year led by the local Air Training Corps Band who stepped in when another band became unavailable. They did a great job and many thanks to them for being there when needed. I love that the parade went right through the centre of town. There is just something about seeing it all move along the streets that makes it feel more like a true community event.
One very moving element to the day’s events was something which I had never seen before – a military drum head service. These services grew out of the fact that out in the field, there often were no altars for religious services so a pile of drums would be set up and draped with the unit standards. The temporary structure would be consecrated by a clergyman who would then conduct the service. These days, at Armed Forces Day, memorials and similar gatherings, a drum head service is used to honour the military personnel who died in previous conflicts.
Spectators were treated various cadet corps drilling and doing demonstrations of things like field craft and rigging. Spectators’ children were all for having a go on the climbing wall, sitting in the very high up cab of enormous military vehicles or operating the bomb disposal unit’s robot.
Each year, I am reminded again how much ‘community’ is at the heart of Armed Forces Day in Banbury. The cadets, the veterans, men and women currently serving, all their families and the other people of Banbury all coming together to say thank you and that we will not forget.
As always, ModParlPhotos was there camera in hand and I think did a great job capturing the spirit of the day.