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Armed Forces Day depends on arms companies, admit organisers

Troops marching in the streets on Armed Forces Day 2018

Armed Forces Day depends on arms companies, admit organisers

Wiltshire Council has admitted that they are reliant on arms companies to run the National Event for Armed Forces Day in Salisbury this weekend.

Speaking on BBC Wiltshire, Wiltshire Council representative Alistair Cunningham said that the Armed Forces Day National Event “wouldn’t go ahead” without companies that he euphemistically referred to as “defence” contractors.

The Council’s statement will fuel longstanding controversies about the ethics of Armed Forces Day and who really benefits from it.

The Council was responding to criticism from the Peace Pledge Union, who had pointed out that at least eight arms companies are sponsoring the event.

Armed Forces Day events are often marketed as “family entertainment”, with very small children being invited to handle real weapons and to see armed force as fun and exciting.

Armed Forces Day involves events across the UK on Saturday (29 June), many of them subsidised with taxpayers’ money as well as receiving funds from private sponsors. The National Event, which is held in a different town or city every year, will this year take place in Salisbury.

BAE Systems and General Dynamics, two of the world’s biggest arms traders, are among the Gold Sponsors of the Armed Forces Day National Event. Another four arms companies are among the Silver Sponsors, while a further two – including Lockheed Martin – are listed as “Proud Supporters”.


The photograph above shows troops marching in Llandudno at the Armed Forces Day National Event 2018. ©UK MOD Crown Copyright 2019