SOLDIERS past and present will be the stars of a free show marking Armed Forces Day in Essex.

The 16 Air Assault Brigade and Colchester Garrison Show will take over Abbey Field, Colchester on Armed Forces Day on Saturday 29 June – the nation’s chance to show its support to the military.

Building up to the dramatic finale of a combat demonstration, the event will showcase the town’s 16 Air Assault Brigade and look back to 1944 as the 75th anniversaries of airborne operations on D-Day and at Arnhem are marked this year.

Highlights across the day include displays by The Parachute Regiment’s Red Devils freefall team, music from The Band of The Parachute Regiment and a march past by veterans and cadets from across Essex. Key pieces of modern equipment on display will include artillery and a field hospital able to be deployed by parachute.

“An insight into Second World War airborne operations will be given by living historians showing the kit and weaponry of paratroopers in 1944 and Merville Barracks’ Dakota transport aircraft will be open for visitors.

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Caldwell, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “Armed Forces Day is a time to celebrate the link between the military and the civilian community in which they live and work.

“The residents of Essex are hugely supportive of soldiers and their families – which we in uniform are hugely appreciative of – and it is important that the army gives something back in return. The show promises to be an exciting, interesting and entertaining day that I would invite everyone to attend.”

The event is the fourth staging of the show – which is organised by Colchester Garrison every other year – and will feature refreshments and free parking.

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