When is Armed Forces Day 2021? National day celebrating military explained - and celebrations and discounts

The annual event that recognised the men and women of the British Armed Forces takes place on 26 June.

Armed Forces Day celebrates everyone in uniform – soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, regular and reserve, past and present.

It’s a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community, from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets.

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Here’s what you need to know about the history of the event - and how to get involved.

An Armed Forces Day celebration in 2019.
An Armed Forces Day celebration in 2019.

When is Armed Forces Day in 2021?

Armed Forces Day 2021 takes place on Saturday June 26.

The annual event is held on the last Saturday in June every year.

Armed Forces Day celebrations actually mark the end of Armed Forces Week, which began on Monday 21 June.

On this date, the Armed Forces Day flag was raised on buildings and famous landmarks around the country.

Why is Armed Forces Day taking place?

One of the aims of Armed Forces Day is to provide a morale boost for troops and their families.

Its purpose is to honour the contribution of the British Armed Forces, both past and present, and their families, to show them their service is not forgotten.

Who makes up the Armed Forces?

The British Armed Forces is formed of three parts - the British Army, the Royal Navy (which includes the Royal Marines) and the Royal Air Force.

The British Armed Forces, also known as Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, are responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom and its residents, its overseas territories and dependencies.

They also promote Britain’s wider interests, supporting international peacekeeping efforts and providing humanitarian aid.

How is Armed Forces Day being celebrated this year?

There is usually a national event held on Armed Forces Day, but this year’s national event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Physical and virtual events are still being held across the country, however, all abiding by the coronavirus restrictions. Events may still be affected by Covid-19 though.

Log on to www.armedforcesday.org.uk/find-events and search by your postcode to find events near to you.

You’re advised to contact the individual event organisers, using the contact details provided on the website, for further information on specific events.

People are also being invited to use the hashtag #SayThankYou on social media to post their photos and stories from home and in their communities to show their support.

Throughout the pandemic, many servicemen and women have worked on the Covid-19 frontline by carrying out a variety of tasks, including manning testing stations and vaccination centres, transporting PPE, and supporting the emergency services.

Others have been deployed overseas, risking injury and even death in the service of our nation.

How can members of the Armed Forces get a free meal?

British eatery chain Toby Carvery, has been supporting Armed Forces Day for many years, but this year they decided to do something extra for some serving servicemen and women.

They sent one of their chefs to visit the Royal Navy’s galley in HMS Northumberland and cook a traditional roast for all of the troops onboard.

Closer to home, British military personnel are also invited to celebrate Armed Forces Day at more than 150 Toby Carvery branches nationwide with a free breakfast, carvery or main meal.

All eligible recipients must do to claim their free meal is download a voucher from the Toby Carvery app and present it in the restaurant alongside their military ID when placing their order.

What is the history of Armed Forces Day?

Armed Forces Day is now in its 15th year.

Plans for the event were first announced in February 2006 by Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, with the aim of ensuring that the contribution of our Armed Forces was never forgotten.

The first event, which was then known as Veterans’ Day, was held on Saturday June 27 2006. The date was chosen as it came the day after the anniversary of the first investiture of the Victoria Cross in Hyde Park, London, in 1857.

The event became known as Armed Forces Day in 2009.