Armed Forces Day started out in 2006 as Veterans Day to ensure the contribution of veterans was never forgotten.
In 2009, the name was changed, to include appreciation for those on active duty. It was always held on a Saturday, and the preceding Sunday was dubbed “Wear your uniform to work Day” so that reservists could also be celebrated. Over the years, the campaign evolved and it has grown to include huge events, with cities competing to host the televised national Armed Forces Day event.
This year, because physical Armed Forces Day events have been cancelled for the public health, the organisers have expanded the campaign by several days to an Armed Forces Week, so the public can still get involved online.
Each day has been given a theme, reflecting a segment of the Armed Forces community, for the public to celebrate their unique contribution:
Monday 22nd June celebrates the launch of Armed Forces Week and Armed Forces around the globe, Tuesday celebrates innovation in the Armed Forces, Wednesday celebrates the Reserve Forces, Thursday celebrates veterans, Friday is for the Cadets and Saturday 27th June is the culmination with Armed Forces Day.
Find out more at armedforcesday.org.uk
The key things to remember about Armed Forces Week are:
Armed Forces Week is an occasion for the public to celebrate key aspects of the Armed Forces. The campaign, led by the Ministry of Defence, serves to remind the UK public that the Armed Forces keeps Britain safe and protects her interests both at home and overseas. Armed Forces Week is also an opportunity to celebrate inclusion and diversity in the Armed Forces, amongst service personnel, reserves, veterans, cadets and families.
To get involved in the campaign this year, individuals and organisations can use #ArmedForcesDay, #ArmedForcesWeek and #SaluteOurForces and mention @ArmedForcesDay. For more information, go to the Armed Forces Day website.
What does East Anglia RFCA do in support of Armed Forces Week?
Promoting the Reserves Day campaign for the Ministry of Defence
As well as interviewing real reservists, and giving advice and assistance to organisations on how they can get involved with Reserves Day, we amplify the contribution of our brilliant reservists online on Facebook and Twitter, so that as many people as possible can be inspired to support Reserves Day in the way that's right for them. Last year during Armed Forces week, our posts were seen 30 thousand times online.
Working with our partners
We support local authorities, reserve units and employers to plan their Reserves Day activities.
Last year, we helped organise an event at RAF Honington. We highlight the efforts of employers like this small Hertfordshire-based agency and this family-owned transport business that created advocacy for Armed Fores Day. We created a guide for employers with lots of resources to help people take part in Reserves Day. And we shared their posts on social media to our strong network of members and supporters, who help us nurture the positive sentiment for Reserve Fores and Cadet Forces in the region.
Sharing Real Reservists Stories
We introduce you to real people in the Reserve Forces in East Anglia. This year, we met 5 reservists who each have a story to tell about what being in the Reserve Forces means for them, and you can read the stories of reservists we've met over the years here too. This is our way of showing appreciation for their Service, and it helps to dispel some of the misconceptions around the Reserve Forces.
Reserves Day 2020 is a chance to recognise and appreciate the integral part that Reservists play in the UK’s Defence capability.
32,240 Reservists are committing their spare time, balancing their day jobs and family life with a military career, to be ready to serve should their country need them.
Reserves Day started out as “Wear your uniform to work Day”, so that employers could start to recognise and appreciate the benefits that employing reservists bring to their organisation. In 2015, the campaign evolved into Reserves Day and moved to a different time of year to coincide with Armed Forces Day. Reserves Day is celebrated on the Wednesday before Armed Forces Day. This year, Reserves Day is on Wednesday 24th June.
What can the public and businesses do in support of Armed Forces Week?
#SaluteOurForces for the Ministry of Defence
Mention @ArmedForcesDay in a post using #SaluteOurForces.
For examples, view our pdf guide.
Publish an article about what Reserves Day means to you
Whether it's about a colleague who is a reservist for an intranet article at work, or some official banners from the Armed Forces Day website in your supplier newsletter, to a press release for your local paper, and a post on your company's blog, your actions on Reserves Day shows you value the contribution of the Reserve Forces in keeping Britain safe.
Sign the Armed Forces Covenant
Any business or charity can sign the Armed Forces Covenant and pledge that those who serve or have served, and their families, will be treated fairly. See all the pledges.
Real Reservists in East Anglia
Read all past and presents stories about Reservists we've met in East Anglia.
Army Reservist Cheryl Martin has recently been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal after developing her leadership skills by attending a Potential Junior Non Commissioned Officer course.
Cheryl learnt how to be an Army Driver, first obtaining her LGV Category C licence with a local driver training school, then at the the Defence School of Transport based at Normandy Barracks in East Yorkshire. Cheryl continued to develop her driving skills by obtaining a C+E LGV licence category and completing her Class 2 army driver trade qualification.
Cheryl who in her civilian life manages a small farm, said: “The Army Reserves has provided the opportunity for me to learn new skills, which come in very useful in civilian life. I chose 151 Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps as it provided the opportunity to obtain LGV driving licence qualifications and the driver skills it had to offer. Overall being a member of the Army Reserve has inspired me to achieve things I never thought possible.
Cheryl added: "The opportunities are endless, I have attended adventure training, taking me outside of my comfort zone, and have been on some challenging field exercises. Most recently having the opportunity to step forward assisting with a national emergency.”
Lance Corporals are required to supervise a small team of up to four soldiers called a section. The rank opens up further opportunities to develop leadership and undertake specialist training such as instructional techniques.
Cheryl is currently serving with 124 Transport Squadron, 151 Regiment RLC at Warley Army Reserve Centre Essex and is looking forward to the next challenge. The Regiment is paired with and work alongside their Regular counterpart, 10 Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment RLC.
Meet Faye, 41, Sky employee and Corporal in the RAF Police Reserve
Faye is currently mobilised as a reservist, supporting Military Operations at RAF Brize Norton. She is working alongside full-time Regular soldiers in the Aviation Security Team, ensuring that personnel and equipment gets to where it is critically needed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Faye's day job is very different. She's Sky’s Anti-Piracy Investigations Manager. She and her team track down and remove illegal online streams of Sky content. Faye’s early career began in the RAF Police as a Regular. She spent five years policing and doing security in the Falklands and other air bases abroad.
As well as affording her the time to participate in her Armed Forces training, Sky has signed the Armed Forces Covenant and runs an Armed Forces employee network, sponsored by Niall MacGinnis, Group Director of Security.
Faye said: "I feel that Sky is proud of me as a Reservist and wants to support those working with us now, and in the future from the military community."
She added: "I don’t see the RAF as a job, but a vocation and a calling to serve my Country and help people. This looks different in every situation and makes me remember who I am and builds my personal resilience. Both the Military and Sky allow me to grow through stretching and pushing my boundaries. I am proud to be part of both organisations."
“I am a Corporal serving as an RAF Police Non-Commissioned officer at 3 Police Squadron, RAF Honington. As an RAF Police Reserve, we provide resilience and support to the wider force and our training is structured to provide each of us with the capability to do so, although primarily focusing on Aviation Security and Law Enforcement duties in the UK or overseas.”
“Coming into the Reserves from a military background was a relatively easy transition as I knew what to expect. What I enjoyed most was unlike before, I was going through this process with people from all different backgrounds, from University graduates, to Policemen, lawyers, teachers and even an estate agent, breaking the stereotypes of what a typical ‘soldier’ should be.”
“I've gained invaluable leadership experience and additional qualifications in Law Enforcement, covering investigations, reporting and recording of Service and civilian offences and arrest procedures, which are all transferable into my day job as a manager of Fraud investigations.”
“Since 2012 when I re-joined as a Reservist, I have served on Operations in Afghanistan, trekked to Everest base camp, parachuted in New Zealand and skied in the Austrian Alps.”
“Back in 2014 and two years into my career as a Reservist, I served in Afghanistan. I was working a minimum of 12-hour days for six months in temperatures that topped 40 degrees. Some people may not see that as a positive opportunity, but for me it was a great life experience.”
During the deployment, Faye raised £2,000 for War Child by arranging a charity cycling race. She said: “It was something we were excited to get involved with and created a real team spirit. It is one of my most enjoyable and greatest achievements.”
“When I needed to, like when I was promoted at Sky, or nearing my wedding, I have scaled back on my Reservist duties to focus on the other things in life which are important to me. The Reserves understand we have a life outside of the military and always flex to meet competing demands.”
Meet Leo, 42, concrete works foreman and Staff Sergeant in the Army Reserve.
From Concrete to Kandahar, Army Reservist Leo Crumpton-Taylor super charges careers
Currently serving with 36 Signal Squadron based in Colchester, 42 year old Leo has been an Army Reservist for the past 14 years. Like many, he longed for a new challenge, and life as an Army Reservist provided the physical and mental ‘fix’ that was much needed.
As a troop SSgt within his squadron, his main task is to look after the careers and welfare of the soldiers, assisting and coordinating troop administration. That guidance is based on Leo’s extensive Army career, that has taken him across the world, including a deployment on Op Herrick 8 (Afganistan) with 216 Parachute Signals Squadron. As part of that tour, he worked with the Afghan Police/Army and spent three months with the Medical Emergency Response Team (Helmand Province's combat air ambulance) as their radio operations force protection. He also joined the Regimental Leadership Department at Camp Dwyer; a forward operating base of the United States Marine Corps located within Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Alongside his Army career, Leo works for Milbank Concrete Products as a post installation remedial works foreman. “Without a doubt, my employer values my role with the Army Reserve. The main benefit of being a Reservist is the self-discipline and organisational skills that I have developed. In turn, Milbank have always been very supportive of my activities and deployments, providing extra paid leave for training and exercises, and adapting my work requirements around my mandated weekend commitments as a Reservist. They are declared advocates of the Armed Forces Covenant and are proactive in recruiting from the Armed Forces community.”
Milbank are currently Silver Employer Recognition Scheme holders and they are striving for Gold; the Ministry of Defence’s highest badge of honour to employers that support Defence.
As we approach Armed Forces Day, Leo reflects on both of his careers. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. For anyone thinking about joining the Army Reserve, just do it! It’s not for everyone but you will never know unless you try it!”
Meet Clint, 43, CNet Training employee and Staff Sergeant in the Army Reserve.
Before becoming a Reserve, 43 year old Clint Sherratt from Suffolk served a full career in the Royal Signals. His final few roles as a Regular involved running operations and developing capability, so it was a natural step for him to join the Reserves.
Clint is an Operations SSgt for 81 Signal Squadron; the only national Squadron which specialises in fixed cable installation, maintenance, and repair for MOD sites around the world. The cross over between his reserve role and the day job is very significant. Working at Suffolk based company CNet Training, he maintains and updates the highly technical programs delivered by CNet, develops new programs, researches the latest technologies, visits major new installations and even physically builds new infrastructure in classrooms.
A self-confessed keyboard warrior, Clint says, “My regular job and reserve role marry perfectly together. If I am researching new technologies and methods of installation, it doesn`t matter whether I`m wearing my civvy or reserve hat since they both require me to do this.”
Clint fortunately has a very supportive employer. CNet Training’s CEO, Andrew Stevens, says “CNet has always supported those who have served and who are currently serving and all those connected with the armed forces. We strongly believe the experience gained in the armed forces provides key transferable knowledge, skills and disciplines to work across the network infrastructure and data centre sectors, plus attributes that can be of huge value to businesses.
CNet employs many ex-forces personnel as expert Instructors who deliver our technical education programs across the globe as well as a number of reservists. We are tremendously proud to have reservists as part of the team and CNet has put specific HR policies in place to recognise and support the reservists we employ to have additional time off to accommodate training and upcoming annual camp obligations.”
Clint can’t recommend joining the Reserves strongly enough. “It is an excellent opportunity for people to learn about themselves, develop themselves and to gain new skills that they can take out into the industries in which they work. It is also a great way to get together with people of the same mindset and to make a real difference.”
Meet Alexandra, 28, CNet Training employee and ground crew trainee in the Army Reserve.
Fascinated by tales from her grandfather who served in the Royal Navy and her Royal Marines stepdad, Suffolk based Alexandra Hall has always had a fascination with the Military. “I wanted the Army to be a part of my life. It is something I’m incredibly proud of and it means a lot to me.”
28 year old Alexandra will serve as an Airtrooper soldier with 6 Regiment Army Air Corps, headquartered in Bury St Edmunds. Her training will lead to her becoming a ground crew member working with aviation such as the Apache Attack Helicopter. She will be trained on how to refuel and re-arm the aircraft, something Alexandra is very excited about. “I live very close to Wattisham airfield and watch the Apache helicopters fly over my house daily. I love them, they're fascinating, and I love being around them. Working with them is such a privilege in my eyes.”
This year’s VE Day 75 celebrations caused many of us to reflect on our families’ military connections and Alexandra is now keeping her family’s passion for aircraft alive. Her grandad, serving on several ships during the war, was involved in the Atlantic and Arctic convoys and operated anti-aircraft guns on the ship. Her stepdad served as a Royal Marine for 22 years as a WO2 Lynx aircraft commander and helicopter weapons instructor. After his full term, he was then invited to join the Army Air Corps by the senior flying instructor at HQ Army aviation to replace the retiring Theatre Helicopter Weapons Instructor. Whilst in the Army Air Corps, in order to introduce aviation combat and tactical manoeuvring, he wrote the H-20 manual which is still in use today.
Alexandra’s exciting new life in the Army Reserve is carefully balanced with her normal 9 to 5. Her regular job is as a customer experience coordinator for CNet Training, based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Alexandra says, “CNet Training is excellent; the whole team are really supportive of me being a reservist. It's great to work for a company that really supports the Armed Forces. CNet has an HR policy in place to support reservists which allows me to have additional holiday so I can complete my training.”
This year CNet Training signed the Armed Forces Covenant; a promise to the nation that those who serve or have served are treated fairly and were awarded a Bronze Employer Recognition Award by the Ministry of Defence.
To anyone considering joining the Army, Alexandra says; “I would 100% urge anyone to just go for it! My squadron quickly became like family to me and the support I have from everyone there is fantastic. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of people. Not only that, but you can gain so much from it; qualifications, skills and the opportunity to travel.”
Key Facts about the Reserve Forces
Who can be in the Reserve Forces?
A reservist is a man or woman who dedicates their spare time to training in the Reserve Forces whilst pursuing a civilian career.
Reservists attend training on a part-time basis, usually during evenings and weekends at a dedicated training centre, and for around two weeks each year at an Annual Camp which runs in another part of the UK or abroad.
Why does the UK Armed Forces need the Reserve Forces?
Reservists play an extremely important role in the Nation’s Defence. FR20 programme was developed following the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 2010, which identified the changes needed to the Armed Forces in order to maintain capacity and specialists while reducing the size of the Regular Forces and help manage spending in the Ministry of Defence.
How many people are in the Reserve Forces?
At 1 October 2019, there were 32,760 personnel in the Reserve Forces across the three Services, including all those serving on the various commitment types outlined above. Source: Gov.uk Defence in Numbers 2019
In East Anglia, there are roughly about 2,500 reservists training on our counties, with some people living in East Anglia but travelling outside the region to train in a unit of their choice (For example, the Military Working Dogs unit in Rutland).
Where are the Reserve Forces in East Anglia?
There are 14 Army Reserve Centres in East Anglia, 1 Royal Naval Reserve unit and 1 Royal Marine Reserve unit, and a few RAF Reserve unit locations. There are 41 different groups (units, squadrons, troops, flights, detachments, companies, platoons) based in East Anglia.