Armed Forces Day celebration set for special return to town

The Band of the Irish Guards perform on Armed Forces Day in Lowestoft.

The Band of the Irish Guards perform at a previous Armed Forces Day in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Marching bands, displays, special attractions, live music and fun for all the family will take centre stage as the popular Lowestoft Armed Forces Day returns this weekend.

Armed Forces Day was celebrated on the Royal Green in Lowestoft.

Armed Forces Day will be celebrated on the Royal Green in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Organisers have said ahead of this Saturday's event that it "is back, bigger and better than ever before" as military heroes are saluted for serving their country. 

Men, women and veterans of all the armed forces will unite alongside friends and family for another "fantastic" event that is set to be held on Royal Green, in Lowestoft, from 10am to 8pm this Saturday, June 25.

It promises to be a day of family fun, fascinating displays and poignant tributes to the fallen.

The Royal Marine Band Collingwood perform at Lowestoft's Armed Forces Day.

The Royal Marine Band Collingwood perform at a previous Lowestoft's Armed Forces Day. - Credit: Mick Howes

With a full-size replica Spitfire in attendance, there will be live performances on the stage, numerous stalls, a special drumhead service at 11.30am and forces challenge at 4.30pm.

Those in attendance can also expect displays from the Norfolk Military Vehicle Group and demonstrations from the Lowestoft Dog Display Team.

Moreover, the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team are due to land on the beach next to the Claremont Pier at around 3.30pm, before returning to the main arena.

Britain's Got Talent winner, Colin Thackery

Britain's Got Talent winner, Colin Thackery. - Credit: Denise Bradley

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The City of Norwich Pipe Band and 2019 Britain's Got Talent winner - Chelsea pensioner Sgt Major Colin Thackery - will also perform.

Duane Ashworth, chairman of Lowestoft Armed Forces Day, said: "It has been a long three years in the making with a worldwide pandemic getting In the way two years on the trot, but at last we can now finally say Lowestoft Armed Forces Day is back, bigger and better than ever before.

Lowestoft Armed Forces Day

Lowestoft Armed Forces Day 2022 will return. - Credit: Lowestoft Armed Forces Day committee

"I do hope that you will join me in welcoming all our armed forces, veterans, emergency services, their friends and families and wider friends to Lowestoft - for what I hope will prove to be another fantastic day of fun, frivolity, great displays and attractions.

"It [Armed Forces Day] gives us an opportunity to publicly express our appreciation, thanks and gratitude to those who potentially lay their lives on the line on a daily basis to ensure the safety that we have come to expect and take for granted."

Mr Ashworth thanked the support of his committee members, East Suffolk Council, Lowestoft Town Council, the Ministry of Defence, all the traders and exhibitors and companies and supporters who backed the event.

Military vehicles on display at Lowestoft's Armed Forces Day.

Military vehicles on display at a previous Lowestoft's Armed Forces Day. - Credit: Mick Howes

Historic links

Ahead of the Lowestoft Armed Forces Day (AFD) event, local aviation historian Bob Collis said: "Lowestoft may never have been a garrison town, but its history has been inextricably entwined with a military presence and the British armed forces since hallowed antiquity.

"In the First World War from 1914-18, the town was ill-defended and suffered all three forms of attack, namely Zeppelin raids, an attack by German seaplanes and finally a bombardment from German warships in 1916 which killed four people.

Bob Collis of Lowestoft Aviation Society presented a wartime Spitfire relic to Terry Arlow, builder

Bob Collis at a previous Armed Forces Day. Picture: Simon Baker - Credit: Simon Baker

"Newspaper reports spoke disparagingly of 'antique guns on the east coast'.

"History repeated itself during the Second World War with only four light machine guns defending the town during incessant hit-and-run raids from Nazi Luftwaffe bombers in the early part of the war, which destroyed many properties and claimed the lives of nearly 300 people.   

"My own father served in the Second World War in Egypt and Italy and was twice wounded in action.

"He did sterling work for the Royal British Legion and other ex-service groups in the latter years of his life, and I know he would have most heartily applauded the Lowestoft AFD event.

"It is an event which celebrates the historic links our town has with the military, and also gives the public at large an opportunity to meet both the veterans and some of the current personnel who serve in our UK armed forces.

"As my father used to remind me, there has only been one year since the end of the Second World War in which a member of our armed forces has not been killed on active service.

"This is a chance to show the military our continued gratitude and support for everything they have done and continue to do."