A military invasion of a friendly kind will take place this weekend (June 27 and 28) in Aberdeen as the city plays host to Armed Forces Day and Airborne Forces Day.
The City of Aberdeen will welcome more than 1,000 serving, veteran and cadet force personnel when they parade through the city centre to mark Armed Forces Day on Saturday 27 June.
A large crowd is expected to watch the march, which will include massed pipes and drums and vintage military vehicles, as it gets under way at 11am at Albyn Place and then heads down Union Street to the Castlegate.
Free flags, which were designed by competition winner Catie Will (11), a primary seven pupil from Greenbrae School in Aberdeen, will be handed out along the parade route on Saturday.
As the parade passes the Town House the Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam, in his role as Lord-Lieutenant, will take the salute along with Lt Col Phil Fox, Commanding Officer of the Aberdeen Universities Officers Training Corps, Captain Robbie Kennedy, Officer in Command of Royal Marines Reserve Scotland, Aberdeen Detachment representing the Royal Navy, and Wing Commander Joan Gilbert representing the Royal Air Force.
This year’s parade will be followed by an afternoon of family activities at the Armed Forces Village from 12noon until 5pm at the Queen’s Links. On show will be police and ambulance vehicles, RNLI (Royal National Lifeboats Institute) equipment and demonstrations.
A helicopter from charity Wings for Warriors, a Grampian Transport Museum Saracen tank, an armoured car and other vehicles will be on show. There will be the chance to dress up in soldiers’ uniforms, try out camouflage face painting, handle historical objects from the Gordon Highlanders Museum and talk to historians dressed up in WW1 uniforms – and event-goers can also enjoy, Segways, Streetsport and a climbing wall.
At 1.30pm the beating of the retreat will be led by Aberdeen Universities Officer Training Corps followed by the veterans and serving members of the armed forces as well as the pipe bands that took part in the parade.
The Lord Provost said: “This is a day to honour the men and women of our armed forces past and present and to thank them for their service to the country. It’s also a fantastic spectacle and a great day out for the family. I’m looking forward to huge crowds of folk turning out to cheer on the parade and join in the fun down at the Queen’s Links.”
Led by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Scotland the Parachute Regimental Association with the 4th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment Colours and Honour Guard will march from the Kirk of St Nicholas graveyard, Union Street, to King Street at 12.15pm to mark Airborne Forces Day on Sunday (28 June).
From 1pm to 5pm there will be more activities down at the Queen’s Links which will include skydiving by the Paragon freefall display team at 2pm and 4pm followed by a beating the retreat by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Scotland at 4.30pm.
The freefall times are subject to change and dependent on weather conditions.
The 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (4 PARA) is the reserve parachute battalion and includes officers and soldiers who have recently returned from supporting operations in Afghanistan.
The following traffic restrictions will be place to allow the parades to pass safely:
- Albyn Place between its junctions with Albyn Grove and Victoria Street, and also on Alford Place, Aberdeen, between its junctions with Victoria Street and Union Street will be closed from 10.45am to 11.45am on 27 June, 2015;
- Union Street between its junctions with Holburn Street and Castle Street; Back Wynd between its junctions with Schoolhill and Union Street; Castle Street between its junctions with Union Street and King Street; King Street between its junctions with Castle Street and West North Street will be closed from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday 27 June and from 12.15pm to 1pm on Sunday 28 June.
The existing prohibitions of right turns from King Street on to West North Street; from Rosemount Viaduct on to Skene Street; and from Holburn Street on to Willowbank Road; and left turns from Hadden Street on to Market Street, will be temporarily suspended between 10.30am to 12.30pm on 27 June and from 12.15pm to 1pm on 28 June 2015.