Saturday, 27 June 2015

I have been to ... Armed Forces Day, Woolwich

This morning Sue and I paid a visit to the 'Armed Forces Day' that was held at Woolwich Barracks. (Technically it was the 'Great Get Together and Armed Forces Day' ... but that sounds far too long a title for an event!)

The event was held on the playing fields that are to the south of the main barrack block in Woolwich. Sue and I parked in the car park off Ha Ha Road*, and entered the site via the southern entrance.

We walked anti-clockwise around the site, and were very impressed by the wide variety of stands and organisations that were represented. My particular attention was drawn to the vehicle and military displays, some of which are featured below.

The A.J.S & Matchless Owners Club
Matchless motorcycles were manufactured in Plumstead, London, between 1899 and 1966, and in 1938 Matchless and A.J.S. became part of Associated Motorcycles (AMC). It was therefore very appropriate that this club had staged both a static and an arena display at this event.

The Royal Anglian Regiment
Although currently stationed in Bulford, Wiltshire, the 1st Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Vikings), mounted a static display at the event. This battalion recruits from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire, and is currently a Light Role Infantry Battalion.

I managed to have quite a chat with a member of the unit about his recent tour of duty in Afghanistan, and it was interesting to hear that the good old M2 Browning 0.5-inch calibre Heavy Machine Gun (known in the British Army as the L1A1) is still performing sterling duty despite its age.

The Royal Horse Artillery
We missed the arena display by the RHA that took place during the early afternoon, but they did mount a small but very informative static display as well. This included a full-sized model horse used to demonstrate the harness and saddlery used by the RHA and one of the unit's 13-pounder Field Guns.

Other displays
Amongst the other things that were on display were a Pinzgauer 716M truck, ...

... a Ferret Scout Car, ...

... and the Greenwich Concert Band. (The latter included several middle-aged men who I taught many years ago when they were pupils at Woolwich Polytechnic Boys School!)

Visiting this event was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and if another is staged next year, we hope to go again.

* Ha Ha Road is so called because it has a ha-ha (i.e. a ditch – with a wall on its inner side below ground level – that forms a boundary to a park or garden without interrupting the view) running along one side of it.


  1. Bit more than my Armed Forces Day thing - trip to Cromer where there was a small exhibition in a hall and an NW Europe SAS jeep parked outside. Nice cup of tea and friendly people.

  2. Xaltotun of Python,

    As Woolwich is now one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Army bases within the M25, I suppose that it is not that surprising that their event was larger than many others. At least there was something on at Cromer ... although I am surprised that there wasn't something on at Muckleburgh. (It was staging a Lancia Fulvias car rally!)

    All the best,


  3. Bob, was the Poly in Woolwich or Thamesmead when you taught there?
    I was the police liaison officer at the Thamesmead site for 10 years.

  4. Phil King,

    I worked in the Woolwich Polytechnic Lower School in Macbean Street, Woolwich, and the Upper School in Sandy Hill Road, Plumstead from 1975 until 1985. I then moved on to become a Post-16 Consortium Coordinator working across the borough.

    I did go to the building in Thamesmead, but only whilst it was Waterfield School.

    All the best,


  5. The closest I ever got to attending a British wargame show was a wargaming tent at a similar event at Aldershot c 1975. Complete with minifig stall, Phil Barker, Peter Gilder etc. A memorable weekend.

  6. Ross Mac,

    The good old days! I doubt if you would find a wargaming presence at a similar event nowadays ... although it should be quite simple for a wargaming group/club/society to put something on if they were asked to.

    All the best,



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