Armed Forces Day proves to be a huge success

Littlehampton Armed Forces Day 2024 - chinook flypast

Thousands of residents and visitors assembled on Littlehampton seafront on Saturday 29 June to enjoy another successful Armed Forces Day event organised by the Town Council and sponsored by Harbour Park. The event, in aid of the Royal British Legion celebrated and honoured those that serve and have served in the Armed Forces.

Led by the cadet massed band, made up of Sea Cadets, Scouts and the Nautical Training Corps, veterans, dignitaries and local uniformed groups marched from East Beach Café, down South Terrace and into the East Green arena to take part in a traditional Drumhead Service. As the Service ended, all eyes were on the sky for a flypast by a Chinook from the 27 Squadron RAF Odiham, which wowed the crowds with its loud engines and commanding size. 

The flypast set the tone for the rest of the day which was packed with captivating displays from the IMPS motorcycle display team comprised of children aged between six and sixteen years of age in their smart red tunics who confidently performed suspenseful routines including jumping over a Daimler Ferret armoured vehicle and over fire.

The arena hosted live entertainment by the RAFA Branch 381 Choir from Bognor Regis, the Cadet Massed Band, the Rose and Thistle Pipe Band and the vintage trio The Silhouette Show. It was also where local military enthusiasts led by Stephen Hogan, put on a brilliant military reconnaissance reenactment with their Daimler Ferrets – the Ferrets are the most successful wheeled armoured vehicles of all time remaining in service for 40 years.

A highlight of the day was the arena performance by The Band and Bugles of the Rifles. The military band serves as the regimental band for The Rifles, the sole rifle regiment and the largest in the British Army. 

History was brought to life with a static replica Spitfire and a Sherman BARV (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle). The BARV, which has been lovingly restored by Steve Cobb of Kent based War and Peace Displays, was used during the Normandy landing and is still running – the video of it being driven into position at the event has attracted more than 85,000 views.

Other highlight attractions included the Sussex Army Cadets KITCAR, a display of military vehicles, vintage fire engines, a charity fair by local uniformed groups and a variety of exhibits and activities in the Littlehampton Museum tent, which was also occupied by the Tangmere Aviation Museum Team.

Speaking about the success of the event, a Town Council spokesperson said: “We would like to thank all the contractors, performers and community groups, who helped our events team make the day happen. It was fantastic seeing people of all generations enjoy the day particularly seeing young people learning about the history of the military vehicles and hearing veterans share their stories – bringing to the fore the true essence of the day. We’d like to thank everyone who donated to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, our sponsors Harbour Park and the Kingston and East Preston Royal British Legion Branch for funding the Spitfire and BARV.”

Make sure you visit our Facebook Page to see videos and photos of the day. Littlehampton Town Council has a whole host of events lined up for the summer, make sure you check the Visit Littlehampton website for details.