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Armed Forces Day 2023 proves a hit in Falmouth

The streets of the picture-postcard Cornish town were packed for the national celebration of all who serve – and have served – in the three Services.

They saw more than 1,100 military personnel, veterans and cadets march through the heart of Falmouth, just one standout moment on a day to remember on the South Coast.

Watched by The Duke of Gloucester, service personnel gave His Royal Highness a Royal Salute, before a flypast by the RAF Red Arrows, an A400M and Royal Navy Merlin helicopters brought formal proceedings to a close.

Now in its 15th year, Armed Forces Day is the culmination of a week of events celebrating the Armed Forces community and all that they stand for, thanking them for defending our way of life, protecting British citizens around the world, and strengthening our relationships with our allies and partners.

It also recognises the service and sacrifices made by families of those personnel – acknowledged by His Majesty The King, who paid tribute to the “immense and dedicated” contribution of UK service personnel.

King Charles underscored “the selfless service and sacrifice” the Armed Forces make, whilst also thanking the wider Armed Forces community, including military families and veterans, for the role they play in allowing service personnel to fulfil their duties.

Upwards of 100,000 people are estimated to have converged on Falmouth over the weekend – pumping £7m into the local economy.

It’s the first time Cornwall has hosted the national event. Despite being one of the least populous counties, it still counts 39,000 inhabitants – one in 13 people – as veterans, with one in every five Cornish residents enjoying a personal or family connection to the Armed Forces.

By far the largest piece of military hardware on show was frigate HMS Richmond, berthed in Falmouth docks.

Some 6,000 tickets to tour the ship – open to the public on both days of the weekend – were snapped up long in advance of Armed Forces Day.

And the frigate used the ‘quiet’ Friday on the cusp of the weekend to host around 800 local school children interesting in studying STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – as they look to their futures.

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