Plymouth Hoe is the place to be this Saturday, 29 June, as we celebrate and say thank you to our armed forces – from serving personnel to veterans, cadets and reservists.
Visitors can expect a day jam-packed with family friendly activities that celebrate our city’s proud military history at Plymouth Armed Forces Day, in association with Babcock.
Here’s the top ten things not to miss…
1. Red Arrows
Look to the skies from 5.30pm to enjoy a spectacular air display from the Red Arrows, who are returning to Plymouth for the first time since 2012. It’s going to be an unmissable show from the distinctive display team, who represent the speed, agility and precision of the RAF.
The air display will start at 5.10pm, with a Navy Wings Sea Fury display and a flypast from an RAF Spitfire.
2. Field Gun Competitions
If you’ve not witnessed a field gun competition before then it might seem a bit strange, but trust us, it’s a big deal in Plymouth and is definitely worth a watch!
The competition sees tri-service teams battle it out to see who can disassemble, carry and reassemble an antique field gun the fastest – the race is on! The competitions take place in the arena throughout the afternoon, starting at 12.20pm, with the winner receiving the prestigious Babcock Cup.
Junior field gun teams will also be taking part in their own competition, with teams from up to 20 schools from across Plymouth. The tournament will run from 10.15am to 4.30pm in their dedicated arena at the Elliot Terrace end of the Hoe Promenade.
3. Veterans’ Village
Here you’ll find all about Plymouth’s historic military links and can show your support to our former service men and women. More than 75 organisations, including Combat Stress and Help for Heroes, will be showcasing their work and offering advice and support in this village supported by Royal British Legion. You can also enjoy some fascinating and interactive displays, including preserved military vehicles.
4. Gun salute and sail by
At 1.10pm, look out to sea as a Type 23 frigate sails past and makes a gun salute. If you look further out, you’ll also be able to see HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier and biggest ever vessel, which is currently anchored in Plymouth Sound.
5. Royal Navy Village
There’s lots to explore here, with weapons and vehicles on display, including a yacht. And if you’ve seen HMS Queen Elizabeth out to sea and wish you could see it up close then you’re in luck - using virtual reality screens, you can now take a walk along her flight deck!
Browse innovative exhibits showing off exciting futuristic technology and have a chat to the recruitment teams for career opportunities. There’s something for animal lovers to enjoy here too, as the military pony is making a special appearance.
6. Dance the night away
Grab a drink and head to the main stage from 6pm for a lively evening concert, sponsored by C&G Catering, which is all completely free to enjoy.
Kickstarting the evening is HM Royal Marines Function Band Plymouth, followed by the 2018 X Factor runner-up, Scarlett Lee. Mentored by Simon Cowell, Scarlett’s incredible voice wowed TV audiences last year so she’s sure to impress the crowds. Also taking to the stage is ‘Tony is Tom Jones’, a tribute to the beloved Welsh crooner, so get ready for a big singalong!
Headlining the evening is One Step Behind, who are described as the ‘UK's premier and longest surviving Madness tribute band’. Expect an authentic portrayal of the original, with plenty of on-stage antics to enjoy.
7. Royal Marines Village
Put yourself to the test at the Royal Marines Village with their obstacle course, which has a unique twist this year, or see how good your observation skills are. Chat to the Marines to find out how and when their equipment is used, and explore the equipment, including their Land Rover with mounted machine guns.
8. Unarmed combat display
Head to the main arena at 1.15pm for a thrilling unarmed combat display. Royal Marines from 30 Commando at Stonehouse will show off their skills and demonstrate key techniques used during face to face, unarmed combat.
9. Army Village
The Army Village will be full of exciting and intriguing displays and activities. Get involved and test your stamina and agility with the children's assault course or camouflage yourself with some face paint!
Explore the many military vehicles on display – from an OSHKOSH Fuel Tanker to their combat support boat - or get hands on and interactive with the military kit and equipment.
10. RAF Village
Learn all about the career opportunities available in the RAF here with everything from Engineering to Logistics.
Make sure you don’t miss the spectacular air display at 5.10pm which will feature the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and the RAF Red Arrows – they will have a representative in the village throughout the day offering advice and information, so make sure you head there during the day to ask any questions.
And that’s not all! There’s live music throughout the day on both the main stage and the Plymouth Youth Music stage, exciting displays from the Emergency Services, the Parade of Standards and much more. Find out all the details on the Plymouth Armed Forces Day website.