The Band of 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron found itself well and truly in the spotlight during the first National Armed Forces Day celebrations in both the City of Coventry and the Village of Bulkington near Nuneaton.
The bands first engagement of the day started in the spectacular setting of Coventry 's Cathedral where the young Air Cadet musicians were called upon to start the City of Coventry 's Armed Forces Day Celebrations by providing the music as the congregation took to their seats before the service.
During the service the Squadron Banners from both 121 (Nuneaton) and 2438 ( Bishop Ullathorne School) Squadrons joined the ranks of a colourful array of Standards representing ex-service organisations, serving members of the Armed Forces and Cadet Forces, as they proudly entered the Cathedral. The Standards provided a truly spectacular sight as they moved slowly down the centre aisle for presentation at the altar.
The service itself involved three generations of the Armed Forces, with readings and prayers being led by members of ex-service organisations, serving personnel and members of all three Cadet Forces.
The Air Cadet B and once again provided the music as the service came to an end and the standard bearers, ministers and civic dignitaries left the Cathedral.
At noon , following the service at the Cathedral, the Band of 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron Air Training Corps led the City of Coventry 's First Armed Forces Day parade of Standards and contingents representing the entire Armed Forces community through the city centre.
The parade brought the city centre to a virtual standstill as hundreds of flag waving spectators lined the streets and applauded each contingent as the Lord Mayor of Coventry , Jack Harrison took the salute outside the Council House.
As the Coventry parade dispersed the Air Cadet Band headed back home to join ex-servicemen and women from across Nuneaton and Bedworth as they gathered in the village of Bulkington for the biggest Armed Forces Day parade in Warwickshire.
The Bulkington parade was led by the Coventry Pipes and Drums and included large contingents of 258 th Signal Squadron and the Queens Gurkha Signals from nearby Gamecock Barracks. The Parade being so large, was split up into three sections with the Air Cadets Band leading the third element representing the younger generation of the community including the Cadet Forces and district Scouts & Guides.
The flag lined streets of the North Warwickshire village set the scene for the counties biggest Armed Forces Day event as the parade made its way to the open air Drumhead Service on the green outside St James Church.
The Drumhead Service led by the former chaplain of Gamecock Barracks Rev Alex Potts was conducted in completely different surroundings to that of the Coventry Cathedral service earlier in the day. Thanks to the good evening weather the wonderful backdrop of the village Church and the support of the local community the event was a resounding success and a fitting way for the people of Nuneaton and Bedworth to show support for the first National Armed Forces Day.
After the service the parade re-formed for a march past with the salute being taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Martin Dunne, Mayor of Nuneaton and Bedworth Tom Wilson, Major Tom Crapper Officer Commanding 258 Signal Squadron and Bill Olner MP for Nuneaton.
Following the two events, Flight Lieutenant Ian Crewe Officer Commanding 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron said, "National Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to bring what the British forces have done and what they continue to do into the public eye. We have Remembrance Sunday which is a solemn occasion, but now we also have an official Armed Forces Day which allows us to celebrate the achievements of members of our armed forces both past and present. By involving the cadet forces as part of the wider service community we enable the next generation of uniformed young men and women to do their bit to support their parent services."
He added, “I was delighted with the performance of our band on both parades and especially the way they played in Coventry Cathedral which must have been quite a daunting occasion for many of the younger cadets with little or no experience of performing in public. Everyone who took part in the events today should be justly proud of themselves”.
View all images from the first National Armed Forces Day