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. There are many ways for people, communities and organisations across the country to show their support and get involved, from attending an event or joining us online to throwing a party or local event.

Showing support for the Armed Forces provides a much valued morale boost for the troops and their families. You can find out more about what they are doing at home and around the world by visiting the official sites of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.

The public show their support for the Armed Forces on Armed Forces Day, but did you know the Armed Forces Covenant outlines how the Government, businesses and communities support Armed Forces personnel past and present throughout the year?


How to organise your event

Why not hold your own Event? Another great way to bring people and communities together in your Spiritualist Church, no event is too big or too small for Armed Forces Day. You could have a simple tea and cake get together or invite the whole street! 

Try to hold your event on or in the weeks around Saturday 30 June 2018. Finding the right location is key. Have a look at how many people are likely to attend and make sure your venue is big enough to hold them all. Smaller events could take place in town halls, public buildings, schools, churches and community centres. Events in city centres attract people who are there anyway; less central events may require more advertising and marketing.

Need some inspiration? Check out the Street Party website and check out our resources section to get hold of Armed Forces Day posters and decoration ideas. If you’d like to invite local military to your event look at the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force’s websites for details on the location of units and bases around the country. Finally don’t forget to share your party ideas and photos with us on Facebook, Twitter or email us at [email protected]!

For information on events near you, head to our Find Events page.


My Time Serving Our Country

by Minister Steven Upton

"It’s now nearly forty years later and looking back I feel proud to have served my country."

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We asked Minister Steven Upton about his time in the Royal Airforce to tie in with Armed Forces Day 2018.

On the 4thSeptember 1973 I took the Queens shilling, quite literally, and joined the Royal Air Force. I had been in the Air Training Corps since the age of 13 and joining the RAF was all I wanted to do. However, I was very interested in everything electrical and wanted to do a job with electronics. So, I applied for Air Electronics. This is a flying job, but not being the actual pilot. The recruiting office made me take an aptitude test, which I passed, and then told me that there were no vacancies! (Perhaps they expected me to fail). Okay, I’ll go for ground electronics – no vacancies. I might have only been 17, but I was learning very quickly. Instead of me suggesting various jobs and being told ‘no vacancies’, just give me a list of jobs where there are vacancies. There were only 3: RAF Regiment, flight line mechanic and RAF Police. None of which appealed to me. They made me an offer: they needed police dog handlers, if I did that they would transfer me to air electronics when a vacancy came up. I fell for it and was a dog handler for the next six years.

The following nine months was a succession of training courses, basic recruit training, driver training, police training and dog handler training. You had to pass every one of them to eventually take a dog for a walk around an airfield. Although I started off as a reluctant dog handler, I have to confess that if I had been offered the transfer I would have declined. For being a dog handler in the RAF was a unique job and had its own esprit de corps. June 1974 found me as a newly qualified police dog handler and posted to my first operational unit, RAF Scampton, near Lincoln. We had three squadrons of Vulcan bombers and a supply of nuclear weapons. It was the cold war and we were part of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

Within a month I applied for an overseas posting. Singapore or Hong Kong sounded great. They offered me Northern Ireland or Cyprus. I thought about it for a milli-second and opted for Cyprus. Northern Ireland in the 70’s was rather hot, and not in the way I wanted. Two days later on the 15thJuly Turkey invaded Cyprus and it was now a war zone. I asked if I could change my mind and go to Ireland instead. By way of an answer they issued me with khaki shorts and short sleeve shirts and I found myself as part of the reinforcements that were being shipped out to the British bases in Cyprus. On arrival I was put into a four-man room with fifteen other people. Fortunately, that was just for the first few days. After that I spent the next year in a four-man room with only seven other men, luxury.

My first few days at RAF Akrotiri were spent going to the cinema because I could not find anyone who wanted a dog handler. There must be a dog section somewhere, but no one seemed to know where it was. Eventually I found the police office. They didn’t want a dog handler either, so they told me I was really a policeman, gave me a Land Rover and sent me off to familiarise myself with what was the largest RAF camp in the world. The following twelve months are a bit of a blur in my memory. Nothing exciting happened and eventually they gave me a dog. As things quietened down in Cyprus and the Turks decided that they were not going to take over the rest of the island, the Officer Commanding of the Near East Air Force decided he could manage without the help of Acting Corporal Upton and sent me back to Scampton. From a slightly warm war I was back in the cold war of Vulcans and nuclear bombs. It was now 1976 and the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. I volunteered to join the RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team. Besides displays at events like the F. A. Cup final at Wembley, Manchester United vs. Liverpool, the main event that year was the Royal Tournament in London. For eighteen months we performed at football matches and town shows all over the country.

The only time I can remember my belief in Spiritualism being questioned was in 1978 when I was back in Cyprus. I was called in to see my O. C. (officer commanding) and he asked me if I knew that the practice of Scientology was strictly forbidden in Queens Regulations. I replied that I did not and asked him what Scientology was. He obviously did not know and was at a loss to explain. To help him out I said that I was a Spiritualist and as it was a religion surely can’t be against regulations. However, if he found out what Scientology was I would let him know if I was doing it. I never heard anything more.

They must have been happy with my reply because shortly after I was promoted to substantive corporal. It’s now nearly forty years later and looking back I feel proud to have served my country.

-Minister Steven Upton, June 2018