armed forces day 2019
Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day: What is it and why do we celebrate it?

armed forces day 2019

Armed Forces Day is a day for the public to come together with members of the UK military at events that take place right across the country, giving them an opportunity to personally thank the men and woman who currently serve or those who have previously served their country.

When did it begin and why do we celebrate it?

Plans to celebrate our Armed Forces were announced in 2006 by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and was called Veterans Day. In 2009 it was renamed Armed Forces Day and it has now been held annually on the last Saturday in June. 

The date of 27 June or the last week in June was chosen as it came the day after the anniversary of the first investiture of the Victoria Cross, in Hyde Park, London in 1857.

The day is a chance for members of the public to celebrate and show their support of the contributions, both past and present, of those who have served in the British Armed Forces.

Armed Forces Day
Members of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Airforce

Who makes up the Armed Forces?

The British Armed Forces is made up of three parts: the Royal Navy (Including Royal Marines), the British Army and Royal Air Force.

The current strength of the UK Service Personnel is 192,160 which includes Regular, Full-time Reserve and Volunteer Reserve forces.

UK Aid

What type of work do the Armed Forces do?

The British Armed Forces, also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military services responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom and its residents, its overseas territories and the Crown dependencies. They also promote Britain's wider interests, supporting international peacekeeping efforts and to provide humanitarian aid.

armed forces day crowd

What can you do to show your support?

There are hundreds of official events taking place to celebrate Armed Forces Day right across UK towns and cities this year. 

Why not go along to one of these events, go and talk to a veteran/serving soldier, sailor or air force personnel and find out what they get up to and have your chance to thank them in person.


This year, the main Armed Forces Day celebration will be held in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Click here to find an Armed Forces Day 2019 event taking place near you. 

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