Brighton and Hove Armed Forces Day 2024

Celebrate Armed Forces Day on June 29th at Downs Junior School, located on Rugby Road, Brighton, which also houses the Take Shelter WW2 Museum. This event promises a fun and educational day with a diverse array of activities suitable for all ages.

Time 29th June 20204 - 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Downs Junior School, Rugby Rd, Brighton, BN1 6ED
Non-Ticketed Event

The event is free to attend, with accessibility ensured for all participants. There's plenty of covered and indoor space, and visitors are encouraged to bring picnics to enjoy on the large playing field. While parking is limited to pay and display options in nearby streets, the school is conveniently located on main bus routes, with stops right outside. It's also a short walk from London Road Train Station and part of the Beryl Bike network.

What to expect on the day

Brighton and Hove's Mayor, alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex (to be confirmed), and other local dignitaries will attend. The Mayor will host a special event at Brighton Town Hall to honor local veterans, who will subsequently travel on a vintage red Route-master double-decker bus to Downs Junior School and the Take Shelter Museum. ITV will also be present to document the event. 

Please note that the vintage bus is not wheelchair accessible due to its age.

Our local Army, Navy, and Air Force cadet squadrons will be present, demonstrating the skills they've acquired through their training. Expect displays of fieldcraft, foot drills, radio communication (highlighting STEM applications), and first aid, all showcasing the discipline, teamwork, and practical abilities fostered among the cadets.

The Lord Lieutenant (to be confirmed) will conduct a formal inspection of the cadets and other Armed Forces personnel in the afternoon.

Witness a rare piece of history with one of the few remaining WW2 German General Staff Cars, the Steyr 270/1500A/2 Light Truck and Staff Car. Captured in 1943 in Tunisia, this vehicle was used by General Von Arnim and later commandeered by the Royal Sussex Regiment with the 4th Indian Division. Now fully restored, it will be showcased at the event. 

Enjoy performances of wartime dancing by the volunteer team of Take Shelter. The onsite café will serve a variety of hot and cold beverages and delicious foods, with a full lunch menu available from 1 pm.

Visit stalls from local community groups, charities, and Armed Forces groups, providing insights into their work and community impact.

Visit The Air Raid Shelter

Image courtesy of Take Shelter - Downs Junior School

Tour the 'best kept secret' of Brighton – a huge, meticulously restored Air Raid Shelter under the school's playing ground.

This multimedia museum not only showcases the architectural significance of the shelter but also immerses visitors in the experiences of local school children and residents during WW2. 

The displays cover a range of topics from rationing and workforce changes to D-Day landings and key radio broadcasts, alongside a unique collection of civilian gas masks, including rare ones for babies and young children.

The school's display of war artifacts will be expanded with contributions from the Royal Sussex Regiment. Veterans from the regiment will share their experiences in the afternoon.

We also look forward to the participation of local reservist units, who will share insights into their crucial roles. SysFix IT Support's armed forces champion, Sergeant Paul Stanbra, will be parading with Brighton's Army Cadet Force on the day too.

The day will conclude with a Drumhead Service of Remembrance led by a vicar from the Brighton and Hove City Council.

This Armed Forces Day event is co-produced by Take Shelter and Brighton and Hove Council, with special thanks to Downs Junior School and Brighton and Hove buses for their support. 

Show your support by visiting the event on the 29th June. I will be in attendance as an Army Cadet Force Instructor on the day but equally, i'm looking forward to meeting the people that serve our country.

by Paul Stanbra
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