Thousands gather in Hartlepool for Armed Forces Day
Saturday’s Armed Forces Day provided both poignancy and fun for thousands in Hartlepool.
The day began with a march by military associations, cadet detachments and military bands to Church Square, for a parade review by Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham, Colonel Arthur Charlton and Hartlepool Mayor Brenda Loynes.
Military display stands were out at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, while the quayside staged a 1940s street party with live music from the decade, dancing, World War II re-enactors and a funfair. There was also a mine clearance display and a ‘gun run’ competition. People of all ages had a great time in beautiful weather.
Colonel Charlton said: “In Hartlepool we have individuals, some of whom are here today, who served in conflicts from World War II, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Aden, Northern Ireland, Egypt, Cyprus, the Falklands, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. The list goes on.
“Hartlepool has a long and distinguished association with the Armed Forces.
“In the First World War the town was bombarded by the German fleet. The first soldier in that war to be killed on British soil fell on the Headland.”
Councillor Loynes said: “The work of our forces in the past and now is unbelievable. They deserve all of our support.”
Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Lee Cartwright, a former Marine cadet and member of the Royal Engineers, said: “It’s been great. Armed Forces Day incorporates everyone from cadets all the way through to veterans. The forces do such a lot for the people of the town. You come out with a skill set that’s so transferable to civilian life.
“A big thank you to everyone who’s turned out and shown their support.”
Among the marchers was Hartlepool veteran Paul Allen, a corporal in the First Battalion Light Infantry, whose service included Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, Canada and Belize.
Paul said: “It’s been well represented and supported. The displays are really good and show the other side to the military.
“Today’s important to remember those who didn’t come back; and the pride of our forces.”
Quin Ness, celebrating his sixth birthday, said: “I like everything I saw. I like the big slide.”