SALUTING OUR HEROES; Armed Forces Day Flag Raised to Honour Servicemen and Women

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Byline: Helen Turner helen

THE Armed Forces Day flag was raised in a special ceremony at Cardiff Castle yesterday, to honour servicemen and women past, present and future.

Councillor Delme Bowen, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, was joined by veterans, cadets and members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Coun Bowen described the flag-raising ceremony, which was one of hundreds taking place across the UK, as a "simple but evocative act" which could encourage everybody to show their support for the armed forces.

He said: "Armed Forces Day has become firmly established in the calendar every year, an opportunity to pay tribute and support our armed forces past, present and future.

"Flying this specially commissioned Armed Forces Day flag here signifies our continued involvement with and commitment to supporting this national event."

Coun Bowen, who will give a reading in Welsh as part of the Drum Head Service at Cardiff's main event on Saturday in Cooper's Field, also spoke of his "tremendous gratitude" to servicemen and women, whose contributions are "fundamental to our wellbeing and prosperity". The event culminated with the raising of the flag on the corner bastion of the castle wall by representatives of the Lord Mayor's Own Scouts and Guides.

Sergeant Tich Taylor, who retired from the Royal Air Force Regiment in 1992 after 22 years' service, was one of many veterans who attended the ceremony. The 59-year-old from Barry said: "I was a gunner and ended up as a sergeant. I travelled the world as we did in those days - to Northern Ireland, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bahrain, Malta, Cyprus.

"When we were in Oman, we were part of the forgotten war, which meant the British forces were not there.

"We were under a different name because the Sultan of Oman hired British servicemen to fight his war because he didn't have an army."

Sgt Taylor, who is chairman of the Penarth branch of the Royal Air Force Association, will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Saturday, although not in Cardiff. He added: "I will be supporting my RAF Regiment Association at the National Memorial Arboretum near Tamworth in Staffordshire."

Warrant Officer (WOII) John Dart, 65, of Heath, Cardiff, served for 30 years, having started in the Sixth Territorial Battalion of the Welch Regiment in Cardiff, which is now 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh.

He said: "It was absolutely brilliant most of the time. It had its ups and downs of course. Because I missed national service a lot of us joined the TA - it was the macho thing to do.

"I started off as a private soldier and pushed my way through the ranks. I enjoyed the rank of corporal, the first time I was in charge of men. …