Edinburgh is gearing up to lay on the biggest-ever Armed Forces Day national event from 24 to 26 June 2011, with a parade, musical entertainment, exhibitions, aerial displays and a Royal Navy ship open to visitors.
This prestigious role for the city was announced in Cardiff last summer.
Events will kick off in Leith on the afternoon of Friday 24 June 2011, and will include tours of HMS Portland, a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, and various water-based displays in Leith Docks, culminating in a full display by the Red Arrows over the Firth of Forth.
There will also be the opportunity to watch a Royal Marines Commando display, a Royal Navy field gun display, and displays by cadets.
On Armed Forces Day itself, Saturday 25 June 2011, a parade of up to 1,500 serving personnel, veterans and cadets will march down the Royal Mile from the Castle Esplanade to Holyrood Park.
The parade will end with a short ceremony of thanks - a Drumhead Ceremony - and this will be followed by a packed afternoon of events and entertainment for all the family, including flypasts by military aircraft, Highland dancing, music, and a Veterans’ Village.
The day’s celebrations will end with a Beating Retreat, a long-standing military tradition which now marks the end of a ceremonial occasion.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival will also be premiering Danfung Dennis’s award-winning feature film ‘Hell and Back Again’ in collaboration with the Armed Forces Day cultural programme.
A War Stories Trail and children’s art exhibition have also been developed for the day, along with the ongoing digitisation of the personal collection of Field Marshal Earl Haig, which comprises objects and photographs held by the Museum of Edinburgh.
Members of the Royal Family are expected to attend Edinburgh’s Armed Forces Day celebrations and it is anticipated that up to 80,000 people will come to the city to take part and show their support for the Armed Forces.
BAE Systems and Finmeccanica are the two principal sponsors of the national event. Other sponsors include Force Protection, SELEX Galileo, the Royal British Legion and the Compass Group.
BAE Systems has offices in nearby Dunfermline, and equipment manufactured by them will be on display, including Warrior armoured personnel carriers.
Finmecannica will be displaying an AgustaWestland Lynx helicopter, normally based onboard HMS Portland, and co-hosting a lunch for the various VIPs.
Force Protection will be displaying Mastiff and Foxhound armoured vehicles which have anti-mine protection. SELEX Galileo is sponsoring the Red Arrows aerobatic team.
The Compass Group will be providing VIP refreshments and the Royal British Legion has lent its support to the various heritage and cultural offerings.
Further celebrations are planned for Sunday 26 June 2011, including a military fitness session, Massed Pipes and Drums, and a Battle of the Bands competition.
Further information on Armed Forces Day is available on the City of Edinburgh Council website - see Related Links.