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Plymouth Armed Forces Day launches its exciting 2023 programme

The Lord Mayor with military personnel
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Sue Dann and Councillor Pat Patel photographed with military personnel and members from Babcock.

Plymouth’s spectacular Armed Forces Day, in association with international defence company Babcock, which owns and operates the dockyard at Devonport, returns to Plymouth Hoe this summer with an epic programme of events, activities and entertainment.

The exciting line-up for Armed Forces Day 2023 was revealed at the launch today (16 March), marking 100 days until Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24 June. The launch was hosted by 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery at The Royal Citadel.  

Lieutenant Colonel Kieran Phillips, Royal Artillery Commanding Officer, presented the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Sue Dann, with the Armed Forces Day flag. Members from Babcock, Plymouth City Council and representatives from each Military Service, veterans, cadets and Military Kids Club Heroes also attended.

The launch saw members of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery abseil down the walls of The Royal Citadel, carrying the Armed Forces Day flag and title sponsors Babcock’s flag. 

Lord Mayor, Councillor Sue Dann, jumped at the opportunity to bravely abseil down the 70ft high Citadel wall.

The flags were passed to the 47 Commando (Raiding Group) Royal Marines, who flew them from their Offshore Raiding Craft (ORCs) in a thrilling on-water display. The ORCs travelled at high speed in an arrowhead formation across Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.

Plymouth Armed Forces Day is a celebration and a chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community. It is expected that over 40,000 people will flock to Plymouth Hoe, to enjoy the family-fun event.

This year’s line-up will see audiences wowed by the all-day arena and stage programme, interactive displays, military vehicles and equipment, demonstrations and parades. There will also be a flyover of iconic aircraft which will fly over Plymouth Sound before heading on to Cornwall who are hosting the national celebration this year.

There’s lots of live music to enjoy, including a free evening concert headlined by Dr Oz the Band, mixing soul, funk and ska from the past five decades with an energetic stage show, plus a range of performances to dance and sing-a-long to.

Councillor Pat Patel, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Armed Forces Day is not only a brilliant day out, filled with fun activities for the whole family to enjoy, but also a hugely important opportunity for the people of Plymouth to show support to our Military, serving to reservists, veterans, cadets and their families and to thank them for the great work they do.

“Plymouth is incredibly proud of its military history and our Armed Forces based in the city. Following today’s launch event, I am really looking forward to this year’s Armed Forces Day.

“It is also great to see the spotlight on the South West this year, when celebrating this significant day; with the national event being hosted in Falmouth. It brings a great opportunity for our communities to come together to celebrate and show our continued support to our Armed Forces.”

Dave Tytherleigh from Babcock’s Leadership Team at Devonport, said: “We have been proud sponsors of Plymouth Armed Forces Day for many years and it is fantastic to support it once again in 2023. This is one of the biggest events in the city’s calendar and provides an excellent opportunity for the community to thank our Armed Forces and recognise the critical role they play in keeping our country safe – something Babcock is hugely proud to support on a day to day basis.”

The Royal Navy

Lt Col Kieran Phillips, Royal Artillery, said: “I’m delighted that we can launch this year’s Plymouth Armed Forces Day with the magnificent Royal Citadel as our backdrop – this has been home to Gunners for over 300 years and to the Commando Gunners for the last 60. It is a great opportunity for us to continue to play our part in the Plymouth community that means so much to us and gives us so much support. This Plymouth Armed Forces Day will be just as spectacular as those that have gone before; and is a brilliant annual moment for us, our families and our veterans to come together with our wider Plymouth family.”

Plymouth Armed Forces Day will start with the RAF and Allied Air Forces Memorial Service at 9.10am, followed by the main activities beginning at 10am. The Parade of Standards, which is open to all veterans, will see veterans and cadets parade across the Hoe Promenade at 11am.

Visitors can chat to service personnel, with representatives from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force and British Army They will host activities, displays and military vehicles in their own specific ‘villages’. Members of the Fire Service, Devon and Cornwall Police, Coastguard Rescue Service and Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth will also be there.  

There is a Veteran’s Village full of charities and organisations that offer support and advice including change of career opportunities. Foster for Plymouth will be providing lots of fun activities suitable for young children too. 

The event programme promises plenty of entertainment and thrills, with the HMNB Devonport Field Gun demonstration, Junior Field Gun tournaments, Team Endeavours Punishers Wheelchair Rugby demonstration, Military parades, bands and choirs, including: City of Plymouth Pipe Band, Military Wives Choir, Rock Choir and performances from Plymouth Youth Service.

The entertainment continues into the evening with a free music concert, taking place on stage from 5pm to 10.30pm. Artists include: Shane Brierley, The Vibes, Jessica and the Rabbits, Rockafella and Dr Oz the Band.

This year the Rehabilitation Triathlon, hosted by the Royal Navy Recovery Centre Hasler, will also take place on Plymouth Hoe, during Armed Forces Week, on Thursday 22 June, with support from South West Highways Ltd. This tough competition will see outstanding tri-service athletes take part in a swim in Tinside Lido, cycle time trials across the Hoe and a static rowing challenge before crossing the finish line. This is a Tri-Service adaptive event for wounded, injured or sick Service Personnel and veterans. Registration is open to find out more and take part.

For all the latest information about Plymouth Armed Forces Day, visit: For further information about Babcock International, visit: