A CELEBRATION of the country’s armed forces comes to Maldon this weekend.

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, Essex Historic Military Vehicle Association and Maldon District Council have teamed up to stage an Armed Forces Weekend.

The first event will be staged at the aerodrome on Saturday – Armed Forces Day – and the second at Maldon’s Promenade Park on Sunday.

On Saturday, the highlight will be a parade and march-past by cadets, veterans, and local civic groups, at 1pm, ending in the lowering and raising of the Armed Forces flag.

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Nicholas Alston will take the salute as the Queen’s representative, with Maldon District Council chairman Bob Boyce.

Cadets will compete in a ‘missile run’ for the Ridley Trophy, named after Captain Claude Ridley, who led the Stow Maries-based 37 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, aged just 19.

Events start at 11am, with displays of military vehicles, guided tours of the site, three exhibits to explore, and First World War aircraft.

Aerodrome CEO Ian Flint said: “As signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, as well as a heritage site dedicated to early military aviation, we have strong links to the Armed Forces.

“Our volunteer cadre contains many ex-service personnel and we are very proud to be part of these celebrations.

“We all look forward to this opportunity to thank the Armed Forces for their invaluable and ongoing commitment”.

Free tickets for the Stow Maries event can be found by visiting eventbrite.co.uk/e/armed-forces-day-saturday-29th-june-2019-tickets-62199169390.

On Sunday, from 10am to 4pm, this event features displays from members of the Essex Historical Military Vehicle Association including restored vehicles, military equipment collections, as well as from service charities and cadets.

It will also include a performance from the Blind Veterans UK Choir.

Essex HMVA spokesman Russell Pacy said: “Maldon itself has a long association with military history.

“During the second world war, soldiers were stationed in the area in order to protect this part of the coast from invasion.

“Some of the local boats were also used as part of Operation Dynamo, which evacuated the BEF from the beaches of Dunkirk.

“Local tugs were used to assist in setting up the Mulberry Harbours for the D-Day landings in Normandy.”

This event is free.

District chairman Bob Boyce said: “The Maldon District is very proud of the Countries Armed Forces and to recognise their dedication and commitment.

“We are pleased to be working alongside these two great organisations both dedicated to the preservation of our military history.”