It was a huge event for Wiltshire and provided a major boost to the local economy.
Thousands celebrated and recognised our Armed Forces and the vital role they perform in protecting us and our country, as well as honouring our veterans. The three day event provided the perfect opportunity to welcome the troops returning from Germany to Wiltshire, as almost one-quarter of the British regular army will be based in the county by 2020.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Wiltshire is the beating heart of the Armed Forces and we are extremely proud of our long association with the military.
“The Armed Forces Day National Event is a unique opportunity to recognise and pay tribute to the specialist military teams, the emergency services and the other organisations that managed the incident and the subsequent clean-up that has helped south Wiltshire to return to normal.
“This has been the most fantastic three days honouring our Armed Forces. Thank you to everyone who has been with us over the weekend, it has been something we will remember for years to come. Wow, what a wonderful weekend it has been!”
Friday focused on saying thank you to serving military personnel with a free barbecue for them and their families followed by a concert open to everyone, with Duck n Cuvver and headlined by The Feeling.
On Saturday morning the military paraded through the streets of the city centre, a spectacle watched by thousands of people, and shown on big screens at Hudson’s Field. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal took the salute outside The Guildhall.
Regular and reserve personnel, veterans, cadets and blue light services took part in the parade through the city’s streets as well as military horses, working dogs and vehicles. The parade was led by the mounted dutymen from the Household Mounted Division and finished with the British Army units which hold the Freedom of Salisbury.
The world famous Royal Air Force Red Arrows made a spectacular moment at 10am when they flew overhead.
Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioners and even a Warrior armoured vehicle took part in the procession. Others taking part included The Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth, the Kings Royal Hussars, 22 Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers, 1 Military Working Dogs Regiment and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, the Band of the RAF Regiment and members of the Queen’s Colour Squadron.
The line-up at Hudson’s Field on Saturday included an air show, military demonstrations, and a free to attend concert with The Treblemakers, The Upbeat Beatles and headliners Kaiser Chiefs. The evening, topped off with a fireworks display, was attended by 27,000 spectators.
Sunday focused on veterans and young people – those who have served and those who may serve – with a commemoration and drumhead service, supported by the Royal British Legion, with the Bishop of Salisbury and padres leading the service. It was also be marked with a flypast of historic Spitfire aircraft. There was also be the opportunity to help the event attempt to break a record by creating the world’s largest human poppy in the main arena at Hudson’s Field.
Björn Again was the headline stage act.
The event, through the BFBS, was live linked to Germany and to bases across the world.