The rain may have been pouring for much of the day but hundreds braved the weather to join in Moray’s Armed Forces Day celebrations.
Several civic and military leaders joined the public in tribute to those who are serving or had served in the military, with particular emphasis on personnel from RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks.
As well as a parade and medal ceremony, this year was marked by a number of displays from local servicemen, allowing people to try for themselves the arts of detecting explosives or observing divers at work – there was also a thrilling display by a RAF rescue helicopter.
Speaking after touring the event Moray’s MP, Angus Robertson, said: “Armed Forces Day is a both a commemoration of the sacrifices for the freedoms that we tend to take for granted each day – and a celebration of the important and varied contribution made to our communities and country by armed forces personnel past and present.
“That is a commitment well worthy of such recognition and with such a strong connection to the armed services here in Moray, it is notable that we have one of the best celebrations of Armed Forces Day anywhere in country and one which is open and accessible to the whole community of Moray, both young and old.”
Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Lt Col Grenville Johnston, addressed a parade of serving Army and RAF men and women who stood alongside former servicemen and cadet forces. He told them: “I am aware that the armed forces are gong through difficult times, with the inevitable reorganisation and decreasing numbers as a result.
“We in Moray have suffered our share of these changes but, as always, we have risen to the task.”
In a touching ceremony Lt Col Johnston awarded the Oak Leaf for outstanding bravery to Corporal Kurt Lee, of 51 Squadron, RAF Regiment following his part in defending against a Taliban attack on the Afghanistan base at Camp Bastion. He said of Cpl Lee’s bravery a counter attack against the insurgents: “His actions were fearless.
“He demonstrated complete selflessness in the face of the enemy to allow the assault section to get back under cover.”
The event was organised by Moray Council, with convener Stewart Cree telling the servicemen: “The gratitude we owe to them can never be repaid, nor can it to those who went before them. That is why it is so particularly pleasing to see so many veterans with us.
“And in the cadets we have our next generation of servicemen and women who, I am sure,, will serve their country with the same pride as their predecessors.”