The British Military Tournament 2011 at Earls Court, London

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in association with The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund have announced the exciting details of The British Military Tournament 2011, supported by Boeing, which is taking place at Earls Court, London, from 2 – 4 December. The British Military Tournament will build on the phenomenal success of its return last year, with a spectacular new show themed around the “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and the United States.

The British Military Tournament is the biggest fundraising event in aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and last year raised essential and much-needed funds. This year it will be tri-service, and will also benefit The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force charities.

This year’s Tournament will tell the 250-year military history between the United Kingdom and the United States of America through performances of military precision, re-enactments, words, music and state-of-the-art audiovisual in one of the most spectacular and largest theatrical productions of its kind. The choice of the theme is prescient given the recent celebrated visit by President Obama who along with Prime Minister David Cameron affirmed: “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship – for us and for the world.”

The British Military Tournament 2011 has few rivals when it comes to spectacle and live drama. It is set to be the most breathtaking performance of military theatre anywhere in the world and will be narrated live by acclaimed British actor Anthony Andrews. From the American War of Independence to the operation in Afghanistan today, the story of our ―special relationship‖ will be told throughout a two hour extravaganza. The show will feature:

-Over 700 participants, including active combat servicemen and women plus musicians from the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and the US Army, and skilled historical American Civil War re-enactors

-Over 100 horses and modern military vehicles

-The legendary Field Gun Run, featuring two crews from Wellington College battling it out in a dramatic, nail-biting contest

-The iconic Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery

-Death-defying stunts from the White Helmets (Royal Corp of Signals Motorcycle Display Team)

-Special appearances from the US Army Drill Team and the US Army Europe Band & Chorus

-The Bands of the Scots, Irish & Welsh Guards, The Band of the Royal Marines (Lympstone), who will have just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force

-An expanded Skill-at-Arms sequence, featuring the gymnastics display team of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, trick riding by the Household Cavalry, shooting from the saddle by the Lancers Display Team, jumping through fire performed by the Metropolitan Police Activity Ride and lots more

-A dramatic recreation of a scene in Helmand Province, Afghanistan by soldiers of the Royal Engineers, the Royal Air Force Regiment and the Military Support & Stabilisation Group

General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence staff said:

“The British Military Tournament is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Armed Forces. In 2011 the organisers are building on last year’s event and including the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Last year’s efforts were a great success as a spectacle for the public and in raising money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and I am delighted that it will be held again this year with an even wider participation and, now, to the benefit of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund as well as The Soldiers’ Charity.

Given the nature of our ongoing operations, it is only appropriate that the theme is a celebration of the close military ties between the United Kingdom and the United States. These ties have never been stronger. The participation in this year’s event of soldiers from the United States Army Europe and the United States Army Drill Team will be very welcome.”

In addition to the spectacular show the exhibition area at Earls Court will be an integral part of the British Military Tournament. Visitors will be able to enjoy a whole host of fun activities at the Armed Forces Activity Area, whilst a shopping area with a mix of retail and charity stands will have something on offer for all. The exhibition also provides the opportunity to meet members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and to have hands on experience of some of the latest military kit.

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