THE county town is set to pay tribute to the heroes who served and died for their country.

Veterans will march through the town on Dorchester Armed Forces Day on Saturday and there will be music and entertainment in the Borough Gardens throughout the afternoon.

This year’s event will be even more poignant as it marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy landings.

Keith Mullen, from the Royal Naval Association, who is part of the Dorchester Armed Forces Day committee, said: “Armed Forces and Veterans Day is a recognition of the contribution made by those who are serving, have served and will serve in the armed forces and is a means of raising awareness of veterans’ issues.”

He added: “Thousands of our servicemen and those of our allies lost their lives on the beaches. Their heroic actions decided and shortened World War Two.”

The parade will see veterans joined by serving armed forces personnel and cadets as well as other organisations.

In the Borough Gardens there will be music from the Wessex Military Band and Dorchester Big Band as well as a display of World War Two vehicles and the Royal Marines will be displaying a Viking Armed Personnel Carrier.

There will be a host of stands from various groups and organisations including ex service charities, the Royal British Legions, the Soldiers’ Sailor’s and Airmen’s Families Association, cancer charities and many more.

Mr Mullen said: “This is not a fundraising event, but a day where members of the public can see how our armed forces and veterans enhance everyone’s life by their service to the community.

“And it’s a wonderful day for the family to enjoy.”

The dedicated committee has seen veterans Royal Naval Association work with Dorchester Town Council and supported by a number of local businesses and organisations.

They include R & O Ball & Son from Puddletown, the Dorchester branch of the Royal British Legion, the Dorchester Disabled Club, Dorchester Rotary Clubs, Jordans Jewellers, Manor Foods in Grimstone, Matthew Lucas Funeral Directors, The Horse with the Red Umbrella and Wayne Paice Carpentry and Building Services. Deputy town clerk for Dorchester Town Council Steve Newman said that the council was always happy to support the Armed Forces Day event.

Mr Mullen said he wanted to thank former Royal Naval Association chairman Derek Beauchamp for all he had done before he had to step down due to illness.

He said it was also important to thank the ladies of the Dorchester Royal Naval Association, who will be starting work at 7.30am to prepare lunch.

Anyone who is interested in taking part, joining the Armed Forces Day committee or veterans who would like to a veterans badge are asked to contact Roy Dean on 01305 853442.

  • 1.25pm – Parade marches off from North Square, down Cornhill and South Street, across Trinity Street and up Bowling Alley Walk to the Borough Gardens.
  • 1.30pm – The Mayor of Dorchester Peter Mann will take the salute outside Barclays bank.
  • 1.50pm – Armed Forces Civic Service in the Borough Gardens.
  • 2.30pm to 4.30pm – Band Concert in the Borough Gardens featuring the Dorchester Big Band and Wessex Military Band