UK

Troops Mark 'Special' Commonwealth Day At Horse Guards Parade

This year marks the 70th year of the modern-day Commonwealth.

On Monday, the United Kingdom celebrated Commonwealth Day.

Lance Corporal Augustine Obi raised the Commonwealth flag on the roof of Horse Guards Parade earlier on Monday.

The Grenadier Guardsman is originally from Nigeria and says it is a great honour.

"It feels really good, special as well, knowing all the sacrifice people from Commonwealth countries have done during the World War and today."

Grenadier Guardsmen raise Commonwealth Flag at Horse Guards parade 110319 CREDIT BFBS
Lance Corporal Obi raising the Commonwealth flag.

He is not the only Guardsman from a Commonwealth country who dreamed of joining the British Army.

Guardsman Lamin Jallow grew up in the Gambia and said it was his childhood dream to join the military.

"Ever since I was young I remember telling my dad one day I’m going to be in the British Army," he said.

To Guardsman Jallow as well as to many other people, Commonwealth Day holds a special significance.

"It brings people together. This is an honour to be here today."

Guardsman Lamin Jallow 110319 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Guardsman Lamin Jallow.

This year, March 11 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern-day Commonwealth.

For those men and women who sign up to join the British Forces from Commonwealth nations, Monday's celebrations remarked the importance of their commitment.

The Royal British Legion has called on the Government to scrap what they describe as unfair visa costs for Commonwealth veterans.

Welsh Guards perform at Commonwealth Day celebrations 110319 CREDIT BFBS
Welsh Guards perform during the Commonwealth Day celebrations.

The charity says former Commonwealth Soldiers can face crippling visa fees once they leave the services.

"Our message to the government is [to] reconsider these [visa costs]," explains Andy Pike from the Royal British Legion.

"Veterans have come from across the world to serve the UK as part of our own forces. This is a poor way to say 'thank you' for their service."

In a statement the Home Office said: "We are committed to upholding our obligations under the Armed Forces Covenant, to ensure that no one who is serving, or who has served, or their family members are disadvantaged as a result of their service."

Children and guards at Commonwealth Day celebrations 110319 CREDIT BFBS
Children and guards perform during London's Commonwealth Day celebrations.

Back at Horseguards Parade members of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir came from all over London to sing their appreciation of the Commonwealth, accompanied by the band of the Welsh Guards, and honorary vice president and well known British soul singer Mica Paris.

Commonwealth veterans hope this wealth of support and appreciation they receive in service can be extended to their life in the UK after they leave the armed forces.

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