Red Arrows to perform fly-past on ‘virtual’ Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day will be celebrated virtually this year for the first time in history.

The annual celebration of work done by current troops, cadets and veterans will be held on Saturday, when the Red Arrows will also perform a fly-past in North Yorkshire.

The distinctive Hawk fast-jets will fly over the British Army’s Catterick Garrison, RAF Leeming and the coastal town of Scarborough, where the event was due to take place before it was cancelled due to coronavirus.

In the year that marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the nation will also celebrate the Army’s efforts keeping the country afloat amid the pandemic, from repatriating British citizens from abroad, designing and distributing PPE, and constructing hospitals.

Military bands will commemorate the day via performances streamed on the Armed Forces’ Facebook and Twitter pages, where behind-the-scenes views of the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Red Arrows will also be shown.

The Queen has thanked the Armed Forces, saying in a statement: “Having had members of my family serve in each of the Armed Services, I know only too well of the pride Service personnel take in their duty.

“As your Commander-in-Chief, I send my warmest best wishes to you all, your families, and the entire Armed Forces community.”

Ahead of Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with military personnel including Lieutenant Colonel Harvey Pynn, who led a team of 20 military medics supporting the London Ambulance Service transporting patients to the NHS Nightingale hospital in London, and Wing Commander Claire Collis who was involved in the repatriation of British citizens from India and Pakistan.

Coronavirus
Soldiers from Queen’s Gurkha Engineer Regiment, 36 Engineer Regiment, transforming the ExCel centre in London into the NHS Nightingale hospital in March 2020 (Dave Jenkins/MoD/Crown Copyright/PA)

Mr Johnson said: “Whether you’re a regular, a reservist, a civilian contractor, a veteran, or the family and friends who support our military in so many ways, we as a nation salute you.

“We know that – day and night, at home and abroad, at sea, on land, in the air and even in space and online – our fantastic Armed Forces are there for us.

“And it’s for all that and more, that I’m proud to salute our Armed Forces.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has commended the military for their “professionalism, commitment and versatility” through the pandemic.

He said: “The Armed Forces community cannot celebrate in person this year, so we are doing our best to show you through social media who our people are, what they do, and how you can show your support.”

The Ministry of Defence announced in May that Scarborough will host the Armed Forces Day national event in 2021.

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