Throughout the year, Middlesbrough Council holds numerous events to show its support to the Armed Forces. Details of past and upcoming events are detailed below.
VJ Day - 15 August 2020
On Saturday 15 August 2020, Middlesbrough Council held a small wreath laying ceremony at 11am to mark VJ Day, which commemorates the end of the Second World War. The council's Armed Forces Champions, Cllrs Ron Arundale and Barrie Copper, laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on Linthorpe Road, and a local bagpipe player, Paul Mack, performed a specially commissioned piece at 6am.
VE Day - 8 May 2020
In spite of coronavirus, Middlesbrough Council along with BBC Tees commemorated VE Day on Friday 8 May 2020 virtually, and encouraged residents to participate in a Stay at Home Street Party.
The virtual celebrations began at 10am with stories of WW2 being shown on Love Middlesbrough's Facebook page.
At 11am a two minute silence was held, followed by a visit to the Archives, and there was a full programme of activities and tributes until 5pm, which culminated in a VE Day message from Middlesbrough Council employees.
Remembrance Sunday – 10 November 2019
Middlesbrough Council held its annual Remembrance Sunday Parade on 10 November 2019. A service was held at the Cenotaph following a parade led by the Yorkshire Regiment Band which included Quebec Company Yorkshire Regiment, Veterans, 282 Squadron, Army, RAF and Sea Cadets as well as civic dignitaries. Father Glyn Holland gave a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in both World Wars and other conflicts.
Steve Gray, a local amateur photographer, put together the following moving tribute of the day, and has very kindly allowed us to show it here.
Middlesbrough Council, in conjunction with the RAF, Sea, and Army Cadet Forces, and 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, as well as other organisations, holds annual parades and services to recognise those who participated in armed conflicts both past and present.
The anniversary of the Battle of Britain Parade and Service is held in September. The Battle of Britain was the German air force’s attempt to gain air superiority over the RAF from July to September 1940. Their ultimate failure was one of the turning points of World War Two and prevented Germany from invading Britain.
The Trafalgar Day Parade and Service is held in October in commemoration of Admiral Lord Nelson’s defeat of the French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar in 1805 despite being outnumbered and out-gunned.
The Laying of the First Poppy Service is held on the Thursday prior to Remembrance Sunday in November to mark the start of the year’s Acts of Remembrance. Pupils from every school in Middlesbrough are invited to attend and place a poppy cross in the Field of Remembrance at the Cenotaph.
Remembrance Sunday is a day to remember and honour those who lost their lives in both World Wars and later conflicts. It is held at 11am on the second Sunday in November (the Sunday nearest to 11 November, Armistice Day).
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne which came into effect at 11am, the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918.
All of these events are held at the Cenotaph which is located outside the Dorman Museum on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough. The dates and times of this year’s parades can be found in the civic events calendar.
Armed Forces Day
Every year, Middlesbrough shows its support for the UK's service personnel and veterans when the town plays host to Armed Forces Day. Armed Forces Day is a national celebration of support for the military, and is open to all, from families and local groups to veterans and potential new recruits. The celebration - formerly known as Veterans' Day - has been developed to reflect the wider role of the UK Armed Forces in the life of the nation and its local communities, and their involvement in ongoing conflicts around the globe. One of the day's highlights is the parade of service veterans, Air, Sea and Army Cadets, the military standards, veterans, local army and cadet units.
Tom Dresser VC memorial
Tom Dresser was born on 21 July 1892. He was 24 years old, and a private in the 7th Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own), British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Despite being twice seriously wounded when crossing ‘no man’s land’ between the battalion headquarters and the front line, just outside Roeux in Northern France, Private Dresser delivered a vital message to his Commanding Officer in the trenches, a message which proved of great value to his battalion at a critical time in the battle of Arras.
Returning home to Middlesbrough after demobilisation at the end of World War One, Tom Dresser lived a modest life until his passing in 1982 at the age of 90, never talking about his heroic achievements or his military engagement, although he served in the Home Guard from 1939 to 1945 when war broke out again.
The unveiling of the Tom Dresser VC statue and centenary stone took place on Friday 12 May 2017 at the Dorman Museum. The funding for the statue was raised entirely by the Dresser family.
Stanley Hollis VC memorial
Company Sergeant Major Hollis VC was born in Archibald Street, Middlesbrough in 1912, and became a steelworker and lorry driver before enlisting in the army.
He went on to become the only person to be awarded the Victoria Cross on D-Day, being recommended twice for his actions on June 6, 1944.
He braved heavy machine gun fire during the landings and was wounded so many times he was branded 'the man they couldn't kill.'
The tribute to the legendary Green Howard was made possible thanks to a £150,000 fundraising campaign by the Stanley Hollis VC Memorial Fund Committee led by retired businessman Brian Bage.
Remembering Gallipoli and Our War - 23 April 2015
A remembrance service to honour those who fought in Gallipoli and the First World War was held at Middlesbrough cenotaph. As part of the commemorations, 10 of the town's schools made nearly 2,000 artificial poppies for an art project titled Remembering Gallipoli and Our War. The poppies were made from materials including ceramics, plastic bottles, paper and foam, and were planted in the flowerbeds surrounding the cenotaph to create the Middlesbrough Schools Field of Poppies.
Saturday 25 April 2015 marked exactly 100 years to the day that Australians and New Zealanders landed on Turkey's Gallipoli peninsula in 1915. The eight and a half month campaign led to the deaths of more than 130,000 soldiers, of whom more than 21,000 were British.
Yorkshire Regiment Freedom Parade
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Yorkshire Regiment, the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment exercised their Rights to hold a Freedom Parade through Middlesbrough on Tuesday 21 June 2016. Freedom of the Borough was first conferred on The Green Howards in 1944 and transferred to today’s Yorkshire Regiment in 2006. The Freedom of entry to a town or borough is a highly prized honour as it implies a long and harmonious association between a regiment and the community it serves.