The Queen thanks military ahead of first ever virtual Armed Forces Day

27 June 2020, 00:10

File photo: The Queen has thanked serving members of the military and veterans for their work ahead of Armed Forces Day
File photo: The Queen has thanked serving members of the military and veterans for their work ahead of Armed Forces Day. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The Queen has thanked serving members of the military and veterans for their work ahead of Armed Forces Day, the first one to ever be celebrated virtually.

The annual celebration of work done by current troops, cadets and veterans will be held on Saturday, when the Red Arrows will also perform a fly-past in North Yorkshire.

In the year that marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, military bands will perform via the Armed Forces Facebook and Twitter pages as they adapt to the coronavirus lockdown.

The distinctive Hawk fast-jets will fly over the British Army's Catterick Garrison, RAF Leeming and the coastal town of Scarborough, where the event was due to take place before it was cancelled due to coronavirus.

In a statement, the Queen said: "The Duke of Edinburgh and I join many around the United Kingdom in celebrating Armed Forces Day, and the efforts of our military both at home and overseas.

"Today provides an opportunity for thanks, and a recognition of the dedication and risks faced by those serving our nation.

File photo: The Red Arrows will perform a fly-past in North Yorkshire
File photo: The Red Arrows will perform a fly-past in North Yorkshire. Picture: PA

"We also have cause to thank veterans, who continue to contribute to our way of life, long after they leave the Armed Forces.

"Having had members of my family serve in each of the Armed Services, I know only too well of the pride service personnel take in their duty.

"As your Commander-in-Chief, I send my warmest best wishes to you all, your families, and the entire Armed Forces community."

Ahead of Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with military personnel including Lieutenant Colonel Harvey Pynn, who led a team of 20 military medics supporting the London Ambulance Service transporting patients to the NHS Nightingale hospital in London, and Wing Commander Claire Collis who was involved in the repatriation of British citizens from India and Pakistan.

Mr Johnson said: "Whether you're a regular, a reservist, a civilian contractor, a veteran, or the family and friends who support our military in so many ways, we as a nation salute you.

"We know that - day and night, at home and abroad, at sea, on land, in the air and even in space and online - our fantastic Armed Forces are there for us.

"And it's for all that and more, that I'm proud to salute our Armed Forces."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has commended the military for their "professionalism, commitment and versatility" through the pandemic.

He said: "The Armed Forces community cannot celebrate in person this year, so we are doing our best to show you through social media who our people are, what they do, and how you can show your support."

The Ministry of Defence announced in May that Scarborough will host the Armed Forces Day national event in 2021.

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