A special flag was raised in Aylesbury to signal the start of Bucks Armed Forces Week – but a security alert meant things didn’t go to military precision.
Veterans, dignitaries and the public watched in Market Square as the Armed Forces Day flag was raised by Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet Ryan Morgan under a guard of honour from RAF Halton.
Today’s ceremony was meant to take place in Walton Street but an abandoned car sparked a security alert and forced organisers to switch venues.
The showpiece of Armed Forces Day takes place on Saturday at Aylesbury Rugby Club and county council chairman Carl Etholen said: “Our support will give a huge morale boost to those who are serving and will send a message that we value them in Buckinghamshire, and are proud of our formal links with them.”
On Saturday a Second World War Spitfire and Hurricane will help create an air display to remember at the Armed Forces day celebration at Aylesbury Rugby Club ground.
They’ll be joined by the Tiger Moth Display Team, a 1944 P51 Mustang, an Extra 300L, and a Yak 52 before a climactic close to the aerial display with a fly-past by the Red Arrows.
As the sight and sound of the Red Arrows disappear into the afternoon sun, a strong line-up of bands takes to the main stage. The line-up, including Bletchley’s Steve Winch, Albion Avenue from High Wycombe and Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard’s Gemma Aguilar, and The Outcast Band, will be supporting the headliner Misha B in an evening of music.
During the afternoon visitors can listen to live music from military and civilian bands, including Dame Vera Lynn sound-alike Fiona Harrison, Michael Boyd’s Sword In Air, RAF High Wycombe Ladies’ Choir, Winslow Concert Band, and The Band of the Life Guards.
While the music plays the arena will feature at 1940s Sunshine Show and a display from Hearing Dogs.
Air Marshal Greg Bagwell, the Deputy Commander Operations HQ Air Command, and the Lord Lieutenant, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, will take the salute at 1.30pm at the official flag-raising and at 6.30pm when the flag is lowered.
Armed Forces Day celebrations, organised by the Buckinghamshire Lieutenancy, Milton Keynes Council and Buckinghamshire County Council, is the fifth in the county. Sir Henry said: ‘We want to say a heartfelt “thank you” to those in the county who currently serve, have served, or will serve in the armed forces. This is also a great opportunity to forge even closer links between the armed services and local communities.’
Tickets for armed forces personnel and their families are free, and for the public are just £7.50 for adults, £3.50 for children five and over, or £20 for a family.