TANKS, RAF parachutes and a re-enactment of War Horse-style First World War battles are just some of the attractions on offer at Worcester Artillery Day this weekend.
Hundreds of people are expected to flock to the city’s racecourse on Saturday (August 16) from 1pm for the family fun afternoon which is part of a day of events to mark the 150th anniversary of the city’s local Army Reserve unit, 214 (Worcestershire) Battery Royal Artillery and the centenary of the First World War.
The event follows a freedom parade through the city centre by the 214 Battery from midday.
Among many other attractions, visitors will have the chance to get up close and personal with a range of modern battlefield equipment as well as artillery from the First and Second World Wars.
People of all ages can also try their hand at military life, including a round of target practice on a laser clay pigeon shoot, the challenge of an army climbing tower and even mini tanks – small enough for children to drive.
The renowned Royal Artillery Band will be playing throughout the afternoon and there will be 1940s song-and-dance from local performers the Hootsie Tootsies.
Visitors can get a real flavour for life in the First World War, as the nation marks the centenary of the conflict.
The Welsh Horse team will recreate the true story of War Horse, when horses were recruited alongside soldiers and then deployed on the battlefield, while the Discover History team will show people around an authentic First World War bell tent with the chance to handle kit bags and weapons of 1914 soldiers.
Worcester’s own Vamos Theatre, the internationally acclaimed full mask theatre company, will be performing throughout the afternoon, giving a light-hearted insight into the role of midwives in the early years of the 20th Century.
Local Army, Sea and Air Cadets will be staging displays and visitors will also have the opportunity to find out about the work of many armed forces veterans’ charities.
Loud gun fire will be heard during the afternoon, between 1pm and 7pm.
Major Tony Ball, who is organising the event, said: “The people of Worcester have always given great support to 214 Battery and the family fun afternoon at Pitchcroft is our way of saying thank you.
“I am confident it will be a great afternoon for everyone and a fitting end to a day to remember.”
Anyone who Tweets from the afternoon is urged to use the hastag #WorcArtilleryDay.
The timetable for events in the display arena is:
1pm – Opening salute with regimental light guns
1.30pm – Firing of World War One 18-pounder & World War Two 25-pounder guns
2pm – Live War Horse display by Welsh Horse team
3.30pm – Freefall display by RAF Falcons parachute team
4pm – Firing of World War One 18-pounder & World War Two 25-pounder guns