The annual Navy Days is set to return to Portsmouth Dockyard in 2010, reports the Portsmouth Evening News.
The event, running from Friday 30 July until Sunday 1 August, will see several warships on show, including one of the Royal Navy’s new Type 45 Destroyers. There will be other Royal Navy ships, some from foreign Navies and other water-based displays. There will also be aircraft displays over the harbour.
The 2010 Navy Day’s will be what the organisers are calling a ‘trimmed down’ version of 2008’s ‘Meet your Navy’ event, where more than 30,000 people filled the Dockyard. They are hoping to generate the same level of interest as in 2008, but how they will do this with a ‘trimmed down’ version remains to be seen. To be a big draw it really has to have an Aircraft Carrier on display if possible, and one or two ships that don’t normally come to Portsmouth, such as HMS Ocean or one of the assault ships, and some interesting foreign ships.
Events like this are crucial for the Navy, so often the silent service in terms of promoting itself. The old style Navy Days events used to be hugely popular, until they were scrapped as a cost-cutting measure. And of course, sadly, we don’t really have that many ships to look at any more. Since the mid-90’s the Navy has made do with some version of smaller event in Devonport or Portsmouth every other year.
But in a time of looming budget cuts and debate over Britain’s defence policies, if the Navy wants to play to its strengths then it has to be proactive about engaging with the public and inform the wider world of its work.