“Where there’s a ‘Will’ there’s a way”, and the Morecambe and Lancaster Armed Forces Day (M&LAFD), was no exception as the Morecambe Bay Submariners Association were hugely grateful to SUBFLOT in arranging the attendance of Able Seaman ‘Wills’ Cross, a serving member of HMS ASTUTE to attend an early AFD Flag Raising and Armed Forces Day event on 21st and 22nd June. The AFD was early in Morecambe this year as the RAF Falcons parachute display team were available and spectacularly started the day with a simultaneous, stirring ‘Proms’ concert by the Morecambe Brass Band.

A formal AFD Flag Rising started the M&LAFD in bright, sunny weather outside Morecambe Town Hall with the Mayor of Lancaster Councillor Abi Mills and Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Colonel J Davies, MBSA members with AB ‘Wills’, Veterans, Cadets and Police in attendance. Both the MBSA and British Legion Standards were paraded. As a serving member of HM Forces, Wills proved to be a star, chatting to the Mayor, Colonel Davies, other Veterans and service personnel.

For AFD itself and an estimated 20,000 visitors in attendance, the new North West Submarine Association gazebo was on display, erected and manned by MBSA members, their families and their newly adopted recruit, AB ‘Wills’. The gazebo had pictures of submarines on display as well as a submarine model and part of a battery cell from ‘Holland 1’, but the biggest attraction was an old submarine escape suit. When the visitors were lured to the stand, Wills played an absolute blinder, his enthusiasm for the Submarine Service and knowledge of submarines shone through and he impressed all he talked to including the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Mrs Amanda Parker JP, who took time to speak to Wills and other MBSA members at the stand. It seemed the art of recruiting had returned, even for a short time, with the enthusiasm of serving personnel talking directly to the public who were eager to know about submarines and artifacts on display.

MBSA Group Gazebo

After a parade, manning the gazebo and packing it up, there had to be a gathering of submariners and this AFD proved no exception with a reunion of submariners, their families and friends hosted by the MBSA Chair, Jim Halliwell, at the ‘Brew House’ in Morecambe. SA members from Barrow and Manchester joined the MBSA members and Wills as much needed rehydration took place following a busy AFD and extremely warm afternoon in the sun.

All MBSA members agreed that having serving members of the Submarine Service visit Submariner Associations is a real morale booster especially when they are so enthusiastic and join in with activities seamlessly. Wills and all serving and retired submariners are always welcome at the Morecambe Bay Submariners Association – come and join us.

Yours Aye

Tim Roberts
Morecambe Bay Submariners Association


The Submariners Association is an association of serving and veteran submariners which seeks to maintain the special bonds of friendship, loyalty and comradeship, together with a pride in the Submarine Service, formed during service in HM Submarines.

Join the Submariners Association Today

Are you a serving or former UK Submariner then this is your Association.

Join today for free and see member only content.

The Submariners Association is recognised by the MOD and has both Veteran and Serving Submariners on its board.