The Artillery Garden and Armoury House bustled with an excited crowd of over 2,000 at this year’s Open Evening on Tuesday 14th May 2019 in the glorious spring sunshine. Members of the public were able to visit a range of stands and witness some outstanding displays that were held throughout the evening.
Visitors were greeted by information stands from many of London’s Reserve and Regular units. Guests were able to find out more about what it takes to join each unit, as well as examine a range of equipment, test out the vehicles on display and take part in interactive activities, such as learning CPR. Other stands to visit included those from military charities, the HAC sports clubs and the cadets, plus the magnificent Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter from RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset. Bars and free hotdogs ensured all guests were well catered for as they perused the stands.
Following an introduction from the HAC Regiment, the Company of Pikemen & Musketeers opened the evening’s displays. They paraded into the arena to pipe and drum and re-enacted the formations that would have been employed by the unit during the 17th century, including firing a volley of musket blanks. Following on, soldiers from today’s HAC Regiment demonstrated a Gun Salute, as often carried out at the Tower of London to mark royal and national occasions.
Next, the British Transport Police showcased the extraordinary skills of their Police Dog unit. Visitors watched on as the dogs successfully located explosives hidden in suitcases and then chased down criminals fleeing a crime scene. A lucky few of the audience were even invited to take part in the dog search and meet the dogs up close.
The London Regiment and Royal Yeomanry then joined the HAC to simulate a contemporary operation. A number of phases were illustrated, from intelligence and reconnaissance work, through to battle scenarios and the use of artillery. This high-intensity demonstration gave a clear insight into the skills and expertise needed of our Armed Forces to combat an enemy threat.
Following this was the highly contested Light Gun Race, once again vied for by the HAC and the 7 (Parachute) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. After a tight race, the HAC team were able to successfully edge ahead and fire their gun first, winning the competition to the great delight and applause of the crowd.
As the evening drew to a close, the Band of the HAC entered the arena to provide a spectacular Beating Retreat and Sunset Ceremony, during which the Union Jack was lowered and thanks giving to guests and visitors. The final flourish of the evening saw the Wildcat helicopter lift off as the crowd waved to the crew.
Thank you to all who attended the evening, whether as a member of the public, to man a stall or take part in a display. We look forward to welcoming you to Open Evening 2020. If you would like to find out more about joining the HAC Regiment, please visit their page here
The full gallery of photos can be found here.
Participating units and charities included:
Honourable Artillery Company; 815 Naval Air Squadron, Royal Navy; The Household Division; 7 (Parachute) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery; The London Regiment; The Royal Yeomanry; 106 Regiment, Royal Artillery; 3rd Battalion Military Intelligence; 4th Battalion, Parachute Regiment; 4th Battalion, Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment; 4th Regiment Royal Military Police; 77 Brigade; 101 Regiment, Royal Engineers; 135 Geographic Squadron, Royal Engineers; 151 Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps; 103 Battalion Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers; 256 Field Hospital, Royal Army Medical Corps; Military Police; Ministry of Defence; The Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Greater London; British Transport Police; The Royal British Legion; Help For Heroes; ABF The Soldiers’ Charity; You London.