KOSB veterans set for lead role in forces tribute

BORDERERS are being urged to show their support for national Armed Forces Day celebrations being held in Edinburgh this month.

As part of the three-day event, 50 veterans from The King’s Own Scottish Borderers and 150 veterans from The Royal Scots, plus a pipe band, will be taking part in a parade down the Royal Mile involving up to 2,000 veterans and military personnel.

The capital is hosting the extravaganza, which runs from June 24-26 and will see aerial displays by the Red Arrows, parades, concerts, exhibitions, and a massed pipes and drums parade organised by the charity DecAid.

KOSB regimental secretary Billy Foster said the Edinburgh event will be the main United Kingdom focus for Armed Forces Day celebrations this year. “The KOSB Association will be sending a marching contingent of 50 veterans to take part in a spectacular parade of around 2,000 veterans and military personnel, whilst the Royal Scots will be sending 150 veterans and a pipe band,” he explained.

“Military personnel and veterans deserve our respect and recognition. In addition to their outstanding contribution and service to the nation, they have acquired skills, experiences and values that benefit our society and economy. They are valued members of Scotland’s communities today and into the future.”

Edinburgh’s lord provost, George Grubb, said: “It promises to be a spectacular three days of activities and entertainment for everyone to get involved in. The city and our partners and sponsors are working very hard to ensure this year’s events are a great success,” he said.

“Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Scottish Borders all have a long and proud tradition of honouring the armed forces and this will be a unique opportunity to showcase this to a potentially vast audience worldwide. I urge everyone to come along and enjoy a fantastic weekend in support of our service personnel.”

Events will kick off in Leith on the afternoon of June 24, including tours of HMS Portland, various water-based displays in Leith Docks and marching pipe bands, culminating in a full display by the Red Arrows over the Firth of Forth. Members of the public will also have the opportunity to try out Red Arrow and Tornado Jet flight simulators at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre.

On Armed Forces Day itself (June 25), a parade of up to 2,000 serving personnel, veterans and cadets will march down the Royal Mile from the Castle Esplanade to Holyrood Park. The parade will end with a short ceremony of thanks and a flypast by the Red Arrows.

This will be followed by a packed afternoon of events and entertainment for all the family in Holyrood Park, including parachute displays, a display of armed forces vehicles, concert by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, music and a veterans’ village.

Events on June 26 are being organised by DecAid. The day kicks off with a military fitness session in Holyrood Park, followed by a massed pipes and drums parade from the Castle Esplanade to Holyrood Park, and then by an afternoon of music and a Battle of the Bands competition.

Members of the Royal Family are expected to attend the celebrations, which are likely to be televised. Up to 80,000 people are estimated to attend the weekend of events.

The Armed Forces Day national event is being staged thanks to funding from the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Ministry of Defence, plus sponsorship from private companies.