Armed Forces Day marks special year

Witney Gazette: A Lance Corporal from the Army Reserves raises a Union Flag outside Banbury Town Hall for Armed Forces Day. Picture: OX68009 Simon Williams Buy this photo A Lance Corporal from the Army Reserves raises a Union Flag outside Banbury Town Hall for Armed Forces Day. Picture: OX68009 Simon Williams

SERVICEMEN and women, their loved ones and people grateful to those who fought and died for their country are marking a special year for the armed forces.

Events are being held across Oxfordshire in honour of Armed Forces Week, which comes to a close tomorrow on Armed Forces Day.

Jim Lewendon, 85, county chairman of the Royal British Legion, said it was a special year with the centenary of the start of the First World War and 70 years since the D-Day landings during the Second World War.

Mr Lewendon, who served in the Royal Artillery from 1946 for three years, said: “I have been to events to commemorate the 1914-18 war and D-Day and what was special for me was talking to primary school children about it.

“It gave the children the chance to talk to veterans and they were all very interested in what happened. I hope it will help future generations remember the thousands who lost their lives.”

An Armed Forces Day service will be held in Carterton tomorrow at the memorial garden which was set up as a tribute to fallen soldiers whose bodies are carried through the town during repatriation ceremonies.

The service, with readings and a two-minute silence, takes place at 11am.

A service will take place at St Mary’s Church in Witney at 2pm tomorrow with a performance by the RAF Brize Norton Military Wives Choir.

Bicester Carnival tomorrow at Pingle Field will give young people a more hands-on view of the armed forces with the chnace to try out some of the kit used to find improvised explosive devices in conflicts such as Afghanistan.

A flag to honour the forces will be raised at Bicester’s Garth Park at noon today.

An Armed Forces Day parade will make its way up Parsons Street in Banbury from 11.30am tomorrow and finish at the town hall. There will also be stalls and display stands in the town.

Also tomorrow at St Mary’s Church in Banbury, music from the town’s symphony orchestra will raise money for the Royal British Legion and the Army Benevolent Fund from 7.30pm.

Tickets costing £10 are available from Banbury Tourist Information Centre and wegottickets.com

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