Ipswich launches events to mark Armed Forces Day ahead of national celebrations on Saturday, June 27
- Credit: Archant
Events to mark the run-up to this year’s Armed Forces Day have been launched by the flying of special flags on Ipswich council’s main buildings in the town.
At the Town Hall on Ipswich Cornhill, mayor Glen Chisholm raised the Armed Forces flag – while at the council’s Grafton House offices in Russell Road council leader David Ellesmere carried out a similar ceremony.
Armed Forces Day is officially being held on Saturday, with events across the weekend.
The event started in 2006 as Veterans’ Day and is held every year at the end of June. It is an event to celebrate the work of serving and retired members of the armed forces – as distinct from Remembrance Day in November, the focus of which is remembering those who have lost their lives in conflicts over the last century.
This weekend the main focus in Ipswich will be a Sunset Celebration in Christchurch Park on Sunday.
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Residents are being encouraged to take picnics to the park for the event which will continue through the afternoon and evening with singing and dancing to a 1940s-style band, a march past and fireworks at the end of the event at about 10pm.
Mr Chisholm said: “This Flying the Flag ceremony is an opportunity for us all to salute the courage of our Armed Forces, who put their lives at risk – and sometimes pay the ultimate price – in defence of our country.
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“It is an honour to be here today and I hope many people will attend the picnic and sunset celebration events in Christchurch Park at the weekend.”
Among those at the Town Hall was D-Day veteran Harold Farrow whose wartime medals were lost many years ago.
Local wartime researcher David Empson found another set of D-Day medals which were presented to Mr Farrow by Mr Chisholm during the flag-raising ceremony.
Mr Farrow, who was born in 1924, joined the Army aged just 18 in 1942, being transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment in 1943. He served in Britain in preparation for D-Day until getting loaded with his Regiment on a ship ready to sail for France on 3 June 1944 where he landed on D-Day itself – 6 June 1944.
Mr Farrow was with his regiment throughout the campaign in north-west Europe surviving many scrapes when under fire by the German army but managed to come through unscathed.
He was promoted to Lance Corporal and worked on Bren Gun Carriers whose job was to make contact with the enemy and give fire support to the infantry.
After being demobbed at the end of the war, Mr Farrow rejoined the army in which he served until 1953 – but his medals were lost decades ago after his then young son had been playing with them in the garden.