Colourful Melton parades to celebrate military centenaries

Air Cadets take part in the 2016 Battle of Britain parade through Melton EMN-180615-110346001
Air Cadets take part in the 2016 Battle of Britain parade through Melton EMN-180615-110346001
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Melton is set to be transformed into spectacles of pomp and splendour this year with colourful parades to celebrate the centenaries of two military organisations.

Horse riders dressed in First World War uniforms will accompany a march through the town next month to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC).

And in September, the traditional annual Battle of Britain parade through Melton will be a much bigger event than usual to promote the centenary of the Royal Air Force.

Details have just been released for the latter event, which takes place on Sunday September 16.

This year’s parade will incorporate a service at St Mary’s Church, as well as wreath-laying and dedications in the Memorial Gardens on Wilton Road.

The parade will be longer than usual to mark the special anniversary of the formation of the RAF, which came after the amalgamation of the Army Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service in April 1918, towards the end of the Great War.

Participants will form up in Chapel Street at 10am before marching through the town to the church, where the Rev Kevin Ashby will lead a service and standards and wreaths will be received.

A wreath-laying ceremony will follow with a short service led by ATC Wing Padre Rev John Hewer and the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille.

Mayor of Melton, Councillor Pru Chandler, is invited along with the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, borough councillors, police and representatives of local ATC squadrons and RAFA branches.

A donation from this year’s Melton Times/Ragdale Hall Make It Happen fund will help pay for traffic management for the event with police unable to provide marshalling resources again.

Paul Davies, chair of the Melton branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, which is organising the parade, said: “It is hoped that this parade will be well supported by those taking part and if any former member of the RAF. or any serving member, wishes to take part in the parade they will be made very welcome.

“We also hope Melton people will turn out to watch and to say thank you to all the brave men and women of the RAF for all they have done in the past and continue to do.”

The RAFA branch is also marking the RAF centenary with a formal dinner, at Scalford Hall Hotel, on June 29.

Former or serving RAF personnel interested in attending should email brenda.cox87@gmail.com or call 01664 564673.

The RAVC 100th anniversary parade, on Friday July 27 at 10.30am, will also be special because of the regiment’s long association with the town at the Vet Camp.

More than 300 people will take part, including past and present RAVC personnel, military organisations and Great War riders on horseback.

Military working dogs will also be in the parade, along with horse drawn vehicles from the First World War and a marching band.

The town is in the process of being dressed up in the regimental colours of maroon, dark blue and gold.

Melton BID is asking town centre businesses toplay their part by dressing their shop and office windows and planters in the RAVC colours.

There will be a prize for best dressed window.