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27 June 2013, 11:33
Portsmouth's prepared for Armed Forces Day with a parade of sailors and a presentation of special bravery medals for 25 World War Two veterans.
The ceremony in the Guildhall Square on Thursday 27 June followed a parade, for the first time, of Armed Forces personnel, cadets and veterans, led by The Royal Marines Band.
Some 120 sailors from ships and units in the Portsmouth area marched through the city, and two warships will be open to
the public free of charge at the Naval Base on the weekend of 29 and 30 June.
The parade, organised by the City Council, saw troops march from St John's Catholic Cathedral to the Guildhall Square via Edinburgh Road, Stanhope Road and Commercial Road.
There was then a special presentation to Arctic Convoy veterans of their Arctic Star medals by Rear Admiral John Lang DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire, representing Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant, and the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel CBE.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said:
"It is fitting on a day where we remember the vital role our armed forces make to our security and wellbeing, we present the Arctic Star medal to veterans of the Arctic Convoy who have waited so long for this recognition.
"Mainly of the veterans received their medals in the post from the government, however we felt they deserved a special presentation.
"Serving personnel and veterans will all be gathering for this special ceremony and parade."
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has campaigned for the veterans to get medals. She said:
"They endured unimaginable hardship and conditions of freezing temperatures, continual bombardment by German U-boats and planes.
"The horror stories are incredible. Since I've been involved in this campaign I've had letters from people whose fathers had to be taken to London to have socks surgically removed from their feet, where they've frozen solid.
"Without their efforts the whole aspect of the war could have panned out completely differently, so it was a pivotal role that they played. They thoroughly deserve to be recognised."
It was also the last parade for Warrant Officer Simon Boorah, Drum Major with the RM Band, before he leaves the service in September. Warrant Office Boorah has been with the Royal Marines Band Service since 1968, when he joined as a bugler. He passed for duty in 1988 and served in RM Band Commander in Chief Fleet Band in London, since then he has travelled to Australia, Hong Kong, Middle East and the Far East.
He has also been involved in various high profile events including the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. He lives in Portsmouth with his wife Amanda and five-year-old son James.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, members of Portsmouth City Council and Armed Forces personnel also attended the ceremony.
The Armed Forces Day Flag was raised as part of the ceremony and will fly for the duration of the week.