The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal in Devon was this morning launched for the first time at RMB Chivenor.
The North Devon military base hosted the event which began with three wreaths being brought onto the base by three troops on a landing craft who walked off the vessel, went through the water and up the slipway.
They then handed the wreaths to four members of Hasler Company, which is a tri-service unit for recovering troops based at Devonport naval base in Plymouth.
The troops Marine Alan Le Suer, Petty Officer Karen Fisk, Sergeant Scott Todd and Staff Sergeant Karl Hammond then handed the wreaths to the Commanding Officer at Chivenor Colonel Dominic May, Mayor of Bideford Simon Inch, the Mayor of Barnstaple Lesley Brown and the chairman of Braunton Parish Council Elma Blackmore.
VIDEO: Troops bring the wreaths into RMB Chivenor
A sea king helicopter from the RAF Search and Rescue squadron based at Chivenor hovered over the landing craft while the event took place.
VIDEO: The Sea King helicopter hovers over the landing craft
The ceremony then continued at the new memorial gardens at Chivenor, which are nearly completed.
Colonel May gave a speech and said: “Men and women in services will live for many years to come thanks to the legion’s work.
“The legion’s care homes are full and the centres often deal with the seriously important transition between military and civilian life.
“This launch is vital for that support to continue.”
The president of the Devon branch of the RBL Rear Admiral Rick Cheadle, who was also at the event, said: “It is really important that everyone gets the message to start fundraising.
“We reached our target last year of £1 million but we are not sure we will reach it this year.
“Remembrance ceremonies are getting more and more popular. Every year we are amazed at how many people come out.
“Each year we try to find a different part of the armed forces than we did the year before to launch the appeal so this year it is Chivenor.
“The thing for me is the huge contribution the marines have made in Afghanistan and the RBL is all about helping people in the services in that situation.”
Major Mark Latham, who organised today’s event, added: “I am so delighted, the day has gone as well as it could. I think it has been a fitting tribute to the role the legion plays.”
The ceremony finished with the Last Post being played, a salute taken, an official silence recognised.