Wales National Armed Forces Day Newport: celebrations and commemorations

Posted on Friday 2nd June 2023

In less than a month, Newport will proudly host Wales National Armed Forces Day – an event that pays tribute to our past and present service people. 

Thousands of people are expected to flock to the city centre on Saturday 24 June for a packed programme which includes military activities; amazing aerial displays and commemorations for past heroes. 

The day will start at 10am with a parade of members of the armed forces, veterans, Royal British Legion standard bearers and army and RAF cadets from High Street to John Frost Square led by the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Welsh. 

The 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh mascot Lance Corporal Shenkin IV and Corporal Jones, mascot from the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards will accompany the parade. 

Afterwards, the leader of the council, Councillor Jane Mudd, will reaffirm the council’s support of the Armed Forces Covenant. 

At 11am, there will be a fly past by the Red Arrows while parachutists from the Tigers Army RAF Falcons display teams will be “dropping in”. All will be visible from the riverfront and are weather permitting. 

People will stop to remember a second world war tragedy at 12.45pm when a service will be held near the riverfront, by the theatre and arts centre, to commemorate HMS Turbulent. 

Eighty years ago, the Royal Navy submarine was sunk with the loss of its entire crew including its Newport-born commander John Wallace Linton, He was posthumously given the highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross. 

There will be another reminder of the bravery of our service people in the second world war when a lone Spitfire undertakes a Battle of Britain Memorial fly past at around 1pm. 

From 10am to 3pm, visitors can view military vehicles in the riverfront area while armed forces charities and organisations will have stalls in the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre. 

During the day, there will also be interesting exhibitions and hands-on opportunities at different venues. 

The Riverfront Theatre will host an exhibition of artwork by armed forces children while Newport Museum and Art Gallery will have home front sketches and a mini-World War One display. 

Newport Market will have a Wales and the Battle of Britain exhibition as well as one about the First World War. It is also due to have object handling, dressing up uniforms and remote-control model tanks from the Firing Line Museum of the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards and Royal Welsh. 

For children, there will also be craft activities in The Riverfront Theatre and, from 12pm to 4pm, an army activity zone in Rodney Parade with climbing wall, obstacle course, pugil sticks laser shooting and archery tag. Vehicles from the South East Wales Military Association will also be in the stadium grounds. 

Newport City Radio will be playing live music during the day (near the Wave) including performances from the Bellagio Boys as well as two groups from the University of South Wales, Jasmine and Ophelia. 

SARA (Severn Area Rescue Association) will also be on the River Usk with their lifeboat. The volunteer organisation is called out more than 100 times each year to help with river and inland searches and rescues. 

Roaming street entertainers from The Majorettes and The Overboards will entertain the crowds. 

After the day’s proceedings in the city centre end at 3pm, the focus will shift to Rodney Parade Stadium where a free, ticketed concert is due to start at 4pm. 

Compered by Sian Lloyd, it will feature the Tigers Army Parachute display team (weather permitting); the Band of the Prince of Wales; Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Force Band; and Cardiff Military Wives Choir. 

Performances will be interspersed with presentations of Armed Forces in Wales awards. 

The evening will end with the handover from Newport to Swansea – who are hosting next year’s Wales National Armed Forces Day – and a final performance from the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Welsh will include the 1812 Overture with the firing of guns from the 104 Regiment Royal Artillery. 

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