Army show set to thrill Colchester

Soldiers past and present will be the stars of a free show marking Armed Forces Day in Essex.

The 16 Air Assault Brigade and Colchester Garrison Show will take over Abbey Field, Colchester on Armed Forces Day on Saturday 29 June – the nation’s chance to show its support to the military.

The event will showcase the town’s 16 Air Assault Brigade and look back to the town’s military history as the 75 th anniversaries of D-Day and Operation Market Garden in the Second World War are marked this year.

The show starts at 11am with The Band of The Parachute Regiment striking up. Alongside static displays of the equipment used by 16 Air Assault Brigade - including an Apache attack helicopter, a field hospital that can be deployed by parachute and a 105mm Light Gun. Living historians will show the kit and weaponry of Second World War paratroopers and soldiers of the First World War.

At noon, The Parachute Regiment’s Red Devils freefall display team are due to drop in. This will herald the signing of a bond of friendship between Colchester, the home of British airborne forces, and Renkum, a Dutch district including the village of Oosterbeek where British and Polish paratroopers made their final stand at the end of Operation Market Garden in September 1944.

At 1.50pm, the PARA Band will lead a marchpast by veterans and cadets from across Essex with The Lord-Lieutenant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst taking the salute.

The show’s dramatic finale will see troops from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment stage an explosive combat demonstration at 3.30pm.

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Caldwell, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “Armed Forces Day is a time to celebrate the link between the military and the civilian community in which they live and work. The residents of Essex are hugely supportive of soldiers and their families – which we in uniform are hugely appreciative of - and it is important that the Army gives something back in
return. The Show promises to be an exciting, interesting and entertaining day that I would invite everyone to attend.”

The event is the fourth staging of the show - which is organised by Colchester Garrison every other year – and feature refreshments, a climbing tower and bouncy castles for children. Circular Road will be closed from 8am to 6pm on the day, with free parking accessed via Napier Road, off Mersea Road.