D-Day hero Jim Booth and top-brass from 40 Commando Royal Marines and UKHO will help Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council kick-off Armed Forces Day celebrations on Monday (25 June).
Mr Booth, a 96-year-old Royal Navy veteran who was part of a top-secret team of submariners who scouted beaches off Normandy ahead of World War Two’s D-Day landings, made national headlines recently when he was the victim of a horrific attack in a raid on his Taunton home.
He has kindly agreed to join 40 Commando’s Commanding Officer, Lt Col Paul Maynard, and dignitaries from both councils in a joint raising of the official Armed Forces flag at 11am on Monday at County Hall in Taunton, ahead of Armed Forces Day on Saturday (30 June).
The event would usually take place at Taunton Deane Borough Council’s offices but due to building works the County Council is hosting this year.
Chair of Somerset County Council, Councillor Nigel Taylor, said: “This was already going to be a real honour but to have Mr Booth and Lt Col Maynard join us is the icing on the cake.
“Armed Forces Day is a great opportunity to show our gratitude to all the men and women who do such a great job keeping us safe, home and abroad. My thanks go to the Mayor of Taunton Deane, it’s with her agreement that Mr Booth is joining us and making it a really special occasion.”
Mayor of Taunton Deane, Cllr Catherine Herbert, said: “The respect and appreciation shown by the local community goes a long way to sustaining the high morale of the Armed Forces ‘family’, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. I do hope many people will join us outside County Hall on Monday morning.”
They will also be joined by Rear Admiral Tim Lowe CBE, the National Hydrographer and Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Hydrographic (UKHO), and representatives from 675 Squadron Army Air Corps and various local Ex-Services Associations.
40 Commando Royal Marines will be exercising their Freedom of the Borough of Taunton Deane on next Saturday (30 June) at 11am, celebrating 35 years being based at Norton Manor Camp with a spectacular parade through the County Town.
Events will be taking place across the county on Armed Forces Day, including a Flying the Flag Family Fun Day at Riverside Park and Wyndham Park in Yeovil between 11am and 2pm. Activities will include den-building, fire lighting, survival skills, bug-hunting, crafts, and a street fair with stalls and refreshments.