Gravesend Sappers along with other military veterans, service associations, serving soldiers and cadets all paraded for Armed Forces Day on the 24th June at the Great Lines Heritage Park in Gillingham. The City of Rochester Pipe Band provided the music for the parade and the Drumhead service.
There was something for everyone on the day. Hosted by 1 RSME Regiment, many other regiments and military groups represented themselves by contributing stands around the main arena.
The afternoon was packed with entertainment. To mention all would take a lot of space but our favourites included a parade of Ferret Scout cars. These light armoured cars were used during the cold war as reconnaissance and command vehicles. Sight of them often brings back fond memories to Engineer troop commanders, staff sergeants and recce sergeants and their drivers and signallers. They can be had quite cheap on the military vehicles market and many are in private ownership. They were later superseded by the tracked CVRT Spartan.
While the corps band and the Rochester Pipe Band were centre stage for the parades and arena events, musical talent was abundant everywhere. Among our favourites were the Brompton Military Wives Choir. The Swing Time Sweethearts are pictured below singing their repertoire of songs from the two world wars. The BAE Brass Band were also out in force.
Showcasing Sapper trades and Skills the trade village was the hub of the day with many trades on display together with many static displays of current military vehicles and helicopters.
Help For Heroes ended a round Kent charity cycle ride in the arena with the funds going to wounded and injured servicemen and women.
To conclude, Medway Armed Forces Day the Corps Band Beat the Retreat. Six Standards were on parade and the City of Rochester Pipe Band did a marching display.
All in all it was a great day out.