A fanfare of trumpets from British Army Band Colchester heralded Armed Forces Day in Colchester.
This morning the Armed Forces Day flag was flown from the Town Hall as Colchester Borough Council joined local authorities and community groups across the country to show their support for the Armed Forces community, from serving personnel to veterans and cadets. The Pegasus flag of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, which is based at the town's Merville Barracks, was also raised.
The ceremony was led by Mayor of Colchester, Councillor Tim Young, with Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Essex Nicholas Charrington; Commander of Colchester Garrison Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin; and Garrison Sergeant Major WO1 Andy Lamont in attendance.
The Mayor of Colchester, Councillor Tim Young, said: “The raising of the Armed Forces Day flag gives us the opportunity to thank the military community, who have devoted their lives to protecting our nation.
"This year's Armed Forces Day event is particularly poignant as it coincides with the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands Conflict, which involved men of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions The Parachute Regiment, now based in Merville Barracks.
“We owe our serving military personnel, particularly the British Army’s airborne forces based here in Colchester, and veterans everywhere, a huge debt of gratitude. Their commitment and sacrifice, at home and abroad, continues to help ensure our liberty and security.”
Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “Armed Forces Day is a chance for the nation to thank the military community, which encompasses serving troops, both regular and reserve, their families, veterans and cadets. Colchester Garrison is hugely proud of the close and longstanding bond that exists between the military and civilian communities in Colchester – a relationship that other garrisons may envy.
“The raising of the Armed Forces Day flag and the Pegasus flag on Colchester Town Hall is a strong symbol of our mutually-supportive relationship.”
Armed Forces Day will be marked in Colchester with the free 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and Colchester Garrison Show, taking place on Abbey Field on Saturday, 25 June. Building up to the dramatic finale of a combat demonstration, the event will showcase the skills and equipment of the town’s 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, the British Army’s global response force.