Worcester residents are being warned that there will be loud bangs in the city on Saturday (August 16), as guns are fired for Worcester Artillery Day.
First World War and contemporary weapons will be giving the salute at Worcester Racecourse as one of the highlights of the special day, which marks the 150th anniversary of the city’s local Army Reserve unit, 214 (Worcestershire) Battery Royal Artillery, and the centenary of the First World War.
The exciting day, suitable for all the family, includes a service of remembrance at Worcester Cathedral, a parade of soldiers and weapons through the city centre and an afternoon of activities at Pitchcroft.
Military event organiser Major Tony Ball said: “Worcester Artillery Day has something for everyone and we’re hoping thousands of people will turn out for it.
“We’ll be giving Worcester people a real sense of what we do in the Royal Artillery and wider military, so you can expect plenty of loud bangs in the afternoon until about 8pm.”
The day begins at 9.30am with a service of remembrance at Worcester Cathedral and then members of 214 Battery will parade through the city centre from midday, with artillery guns past and present and the famous Royal Artillery Band.
The parade route will be City Walls Road, Charles Street, Pump Street, High Street, The Cross, Foregate Street and Castle Street before arriving at Pitchcroft.
The salute will be taken outside the Guildhall by the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Lt Col Patrick Holcroft LVO OBE; the Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Alan Amos; and Major General JR Free CBE of the Royal Artillery.
From 1pm the focus will switch to the Racecourse site at Pitchcroft, where thousands of visitors are expected to enjoy an afternoon of military activities, music, displays and exhibitions. Admission will be free.
An opening salute of regimental light guns will set things off with a bang, and the afternoon will feature tanks, rocket launchers, a re-enactment of War Horse-style First World War battles, an RAF parachute display and miniature tanks for children.
Visitors can also get up close to military vehicles past and present, try a bit of target practice on a laser clay pigeon shoot and face the challenge of an army climbing tower.
The renowned Royal Artillery Band will be playing throughout the afternoon and there will be 1940s song-and-dance from local performers the Hootsie Tootsies.
Visitors can get a real flavour for life in the First World War, as the nation marks the centenary of the conflict, with a range of 1914-themed displays and re-enactments.
The timetable for events in the display arena is:
- 1pm – Opening salute with regimental light guns
- 1.30pm – Firing of World War One 18-pounder & World War Two 25-pounder guns
- 2pm – Live War Horse display by Welsh Horse team
- 3.30pm – Freefall display by RAF Falcons parachute team
- 4pm – Firing of World War One 18-pounder & World War Two 25-pounder guns
An Army Reserve unit, today’s 214 Battery was originally formed in 1864 as the Worcestershire Volunteer Artillery Corps. The regiment fought in France and Italy during the First World War and in North Africa during World War Two. In more recent years, soldiers from 214 Battery have seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Worcester Artillery Day is being supported by Worcester City Council, the Worcester Festival and the Worcestershire World War One Hundred campaign.