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Spitfire and Dakota at Armed Forces Day

Posted onPosted on 20th Jun

Thousands of people are expected to enjoy a family day out as Mansfield pays its tribute to the Armed Forces, on Sunday, 30th June in the Market Place.

The Armed Forces Day event, which will have a Spitfire on display and includes, weather permitting, a fly-past by a Dakota, is an opportunity for local people to show their appreciation of servicemen and women, past and present.

It is organised by Mansfield Business Improvement District (BID) in collaboration with Mansfield District Council, with additional funding provided by the Ministry of Defence and is one of many events being held from 22nd June to 7th July, up and down the country to recognise the Armed Forces.

The Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams, along with the council’s Armed Forces Champion, Cllr John Smart, will open the event. They are also due to officially present a medal to one of the town’s D Day veterans, 96-year-old Jim Wain.

The Mayor said: “This will be a wonderful event for all the family. It is very important that we, as a community, recognise the important part the armed forces played and continue to play in maintaining the peace and security of this country. We hope people will join us to show how much we appreciate the commitment, duty and service of our servicemen and women and veterans like Jim Wain.”

Mr Wain, who fought in Normandy, was recently awarded the highest French order of merit for military and civil achievement, the Légion d’Honneur. The medal has been awarded to all those Second World War veterans who were involved in liberating France from the Nazis.

His letter from the French Embassy said: “As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget the heroes like you who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication because you were ready to risk your life.”

The council agreed to arrange for the medal to be formally presented to Mr Wain by the Mayor after being approached by the Nottinghamshire branch of the Grenadier Guards Association. Serving members of the Grenadier Guards, in full ceremonial uniform, will also attend the presentation.

Jim was born in Sheffield in 1922 and moved with his family to Mansfield when he was a baby. He left school at 14 and started work at Mansfield Brewery until he was called up for war service.

He was conscripted into the Grenadier Guards, joining the 4th Battalion which was part of the 6th Tank Brigade. Using Churchill tanks, they took part in the Normandy Landings and fought their way across North Western Europe.
His memory is not as good as it was but he remembers being action in Normandy on his 21st birthday. He was wounded in his left leg by shrapnel during one of the many battles he fought in and was returned to Aberdare, Wales, to recover.

He was eventually demobilized and returned to civilian life and his job back at Mansfield Brewery where stayed until his retirement.

His presentation will kick off Mansfield Armed Forces Day which will also see Mansfield District Corps of Drums leading a parade, with representation from all the armed forces, standard bearers and associated charities, from the Buttercross, along West Gate to the Market Place.
Sue Rogers, from Mansfield BID, said: “This is a fabulous event to arrange as so many people turn out to meet the armed forces and leave their messages of thanks on the giant heart.

“We are also very pleased to have been chosen once again for an RAF Memorial fly-past by a Dakota, subject to weather conditions on the day. This should take place at 15.03 local time. This really is the icing on the cake for our town and an emotional moment for everyone to experience.”

Live music during the event will be provided by The Moonshiners, Ashby ‘little’ Big Band and Mansfield Corps of Drums. Other attractions include free Top Secret activity booklets, free children’s face painting, a display of vintage military vehicles and craft market with more than 30 stalls.

There will also be an Armed Forces Day selfie frame, where pictures taken will be uploaded to the ilovemansfield Facebook page with the national strapline #saluteourarmedforces.

Organisations supporting the day included Help for Heroes, Royal Air Force, Royal British Legion, Royal Navy Reserves, HMS Sherwood, Grenadier Guards, Mansfield Sea Cadets, and Police Cadets.

Mansfield Armed Forces Day schedule

10am – Parade from The Buttercross to the Market Place

10.15am – Ceremony opening speech by The Mayor and Medal Presentation

10.30 to 11.15am – The Moonshiners

11.30 to 12.15pm – The Ashby ‘little’ Big Band

12.30 to 1pm – Mansfield District Corps of Drums

1.15 to 2pm – The Ashby ‘little’ Big Band

2.15 to 2.45pm – The Moonshiners

3 – 3.30pm – The Ashby ‘little’ Big Band

3.03pm ETA – RAF Memorial Fly-past by Dakota from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Weather permitting.