Pikemen, musketeers and light cavalry to march through Islington streets for Armed forces day

Veterans raise the flag outside the town hall ahead of the veterans picnic

Veterans raise the flag outside the town hall ahead of the veterans picnic - Credit: Archant

More than 100 pikemen, musketeers, light cavalry and soldiers will march through the streets on Saturday to celebrate Armed Forces Day.

The Freedom Parade, which starts in Highbury Fields at 10am and ends at Islington Town Hall, in Upper Street, is expected to attract a large crowd.

The march is made up of reserve soldiers from the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), in City Road, Finsbury, who are exercising their right, given to them in 1997, to parade through the borough’s streets with bayonets fixed and colours flying.


At the town hall, top brass will sign the Armed Forces Community Covenant with Islington Council, an agreement which aims to give veterans more chance of getting access to housing and other services when they leave active service.

At Islington Green, veterans will salute the parade as it passes on its way back to barracks before the Picnic on the Green where a wreath laying ceremony will be held, and a 1940s swing band willplay, with singing and dancing.

Ron Ranger, from Islington Veterans’ Association, said: “It should be a good do, people dressed up in 1940s gear.

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“We’re expecting a good crowd if the weather stays nice.

“But everyone needs to bring their own picnic, although there will be stalls to raise money for charity and the veterans are presenting a cheque for £400 to Centre 404.

“This is the second year we’ve done it and it will definitely be bigger.”

Mr Ranger says the increase in interest is not down to public sympathy for Drummer Lee Rigby, who was killed in Woolwich last month.

“We were publicising this before that happened. I used to be in Mr Rigby’s regiment and did the same job as him.

“We went down there to lay some flowers. But this is down to hard work from me and a couple of others.

“I’m going to form a committee next year.”


Many businesses in the area, including Browns, Waitrose, Wagamama, Glassworks, Calzedonia, Vue Cinema and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, along with bars Slug and Lettuce, O’Neills, Ladybird Bar and Slim Jim’s have provided raffle prizes and free refreshments for the day.

Christine Lovett, director of Angel Action Improve Maintain, said: “We are delighted how many businesses were keen to support the local community, clearly appreciating the noble sacrifices made by the armed forces and their families.

“We cannot thank them enough for their generosity.”

In Hackney, an Armed Forces Day flag will be raised above the town hall in Mare Street at 10am on Saturday, with a parade in the square outside.