A warship has arrived on Wearside as she prepares to take part in this weekend’s festival of flight.
HMS Bulwark will be an imposing presence off the coast as Sunderland International Airshow welcomes tens of thousands of spectators this weekend.
The fleet amphibious flagship will be off Seaburn Beach and will use its visits to renew friendships and affiliations with the many groups in the area related to the it’s affiliation with the city and County Durham.
It will not be open to the public, although it will welcome planned visits by schools, youth groups and groups, but can be best viewed from the National Glass Centre at St Peter’s.
On Friday at 10.30am the ship’s company exercise the Freedom of the City of Durham, with some 300 sailors and marines proudly marching through the city centre to Palace Green, led by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.
Early on Saturday morning, HMS Bulwark will leave Sunderland and take station a mile off Seaburn.
I’m thrilled to welcome HMS Bulwark and her crew to the city.Sue Stanhope
The crowd will then witness a display of the ship’s amphibious capabilities at 1pm on Saturday as landing craft deliver Royal Marines and Viking tracked vehicles against an ‘enemy’ held artillery position.
The position will be defended by members of 4th Regiment Royal Artillery and The Queen’s Own Yeomanry.
The mine-countermeasures vessel HMS Blyth will simulate mine clearance activities off the beach including an ‘underwater explosion’ simulating a sea-mine detonation.
The 30-minute demonstration will showcase UK amphibious capabilities and will provide noise, colour and movement.
A repeat demonstration will be held between 2pm and 2.30pm on Sunday.
The ship’s captain James Parkin said: “Visiting the North East is always a delight and taking part in the Sunderland International Air Show, having just exercised the Freedom of Durham, promises to be a very exciting and special week for everyone in HMS Bulwark.”
The start of the airshow will be signalled with a launch at Cliffe Park on Friday from 6pm.
Sue Stanhope, airshow director, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome HMS Bulwark and her crew to the city.
“She will play an active role in the airshow and will be visible for all to see as she anchors off the coast during both days.”
Northumbria Police has issued advice to people travelling to the event, with the A1231 expected to be busy due to roadworks and signs in place advising people where to park.