This Armed Forces Week we’re celebrating the important role every member of the Forces plays in protecting our country. We thank them for their service and sacrifice.
First observed in 2006, this annual, week-long celebration provides an opportunity for the general public to come together as we recognise and support our services, with special emphasis throughout the week on Reservists (Wednesday 23 June) and Armed Forces (Saturday 26 June).
What is Armed Forces Day?
Armed Forces Day (formerly Veteran Day) takes place on the last Saturday of June. The celebrations originate from 2006 when Gordon Brown (then-Chancellor of the Exchequer) announced plans for a day to ensure the contribution of veterans was never forgotten. The date was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the investiture of the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park, London in 1857. In 2009, the name was changed to Armed Forces Day to further raise awareness and appreciation of those in active service.
The week surrounding Armed Forces Day is a chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets. Reserves Day (Wednesday 23 June) also provides an opportunity for us all to recognise our Reserve Forces.
Celebrations begin on Monday 21 June when the Armed Forces Day flag is raised on buildings and famous landmarks around the country.
Why should you get involved?
Showing support for the Armed Forces provides a much-valued morale boost for the troops and their families. It also gives the public a chance to show their support and appreciation for the Armed Forces, both past and present.
And this year is a great opportunity to thank our Forces, who have played a key role during the Pandemic.
The Armed Forces response to COVID-19 has seen more than 5,000 personnel involved. From helping to transform the vaccine to aiding with testing, members of all british Forces services have taken part in a vast range of tasks. Amounting to the biggest ever UK military operation in peacetime, even logitics experts have been at the forefront, aiding with the planning of the vaccine roll out, to ensure it is as effective and efficient as possible.
Who does Armed Forces Week celebrate?
The Armed Forces
The UK Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They are busy working around the world, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism.
A veteran is anyone who has served in the HM Armed Forces at any time (including National Servicemen, Regulars and Reserves). Armed Forces Day celebrates their continued role within the military community. You can find out more information about the support we provide for veterans by visiting our Get Help page.
Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve. An annual Reserves Day celebrates their contribution to the Armed Forces.
The Cadet Forces (Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force) currently support over 130,000 young people in more than 3,000 locations across the UK. Cadets learn life and career building skills as well as gaining vocational qualifications.
Our Armed Forces couldn’t do their job without the incredible support of their family and friends. We know that families are often impacted by the job their loved one does, protecting our country – so it’s important we recognise the role they play too.
Celebrate at home and show your support
If you’d like to show your support for our Forces, don’t forget to mark the week at home by taking part in our 'Battle of the Burgers' BBQ.
This year we're inviting you to hold a BBQ and show your support for the entire Armed Forces community. And, when you sign up, you'll receive our FREE Armed Forces Day BBQ Pack, which includes everything you need to hold a brilliant BBQ and raise funds for veterans' mental health.
Sign up by clicking the button below. Thank you!
Find out more
For veterans and family members. Find out about our services and get the help you need.
Developed by the clinical experts at Combat Stress, these resources aim to provide guidance and support to former military personnel experiencing mental health issues.
Some of those who we have helped have kindly shared their stories with us.