Join the National Museum of the Royal Navy for an Armed Forces Day Tea Party

Armed Forces Day Tea Party Sunday 29th June at National Museum of the Royal Navy
Celebrate this year’s Armed Forces Day at The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s Vintage Tea Party on Sunday 29 June, from 10am – 4pm
 
Meet the veterans to hear their personal stories of life at sea in the Royal Navy
 
Catwalk Show showcasing the influence of the Royal Navy on fashion trends over the last 100 years 
 
Enjoy live music and pick up some new moves at a Charleston workshop
 
Family activities from balloon modeling to face painting
 
Complimentary access to all, from families and friends to visitors and day trippers to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard 
 
 
In celebration of Armed Forces Day on the centenary year of the Great War, The National Museum of the Royal Navy will be holding a vintage tea party on the harbour front, bringing together families and friends, veterans and visitors to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, also home to the Royal Navy. 
 
Following on from the recent opening of The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s new exhibitions ‘HMS Hear My Story’ and ‘Racing to War: The Royal Navy and 1914’ – which for the first time in British history, share a thousand stories over the last century from men and women who served at sea, the vintage tea party is a chance for the whole community to join together and celebrate our past and toast the future of our Armed Forces with a programme of interactive events with a vintage flavour. Throughout the day, there will be a wide range of activities on offer for visitors of all ages, as well as complimentary access to the two new major exhibitions. 
 
Following the trend The NMRN will be taking to the catwalk showing how the Royal Navy has influenced fashion trends over the last century. From beautifully tailored uniforms to iconic duffel coats, from bell-bottoms to flying jackets, naval style has influenced top fashion designers including Coco Chanel, Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood. Models will parade in naval inspired fashion created by Laura Ashley and YSL to street styled combats from our High Street with visitors finding out just how much of their wardrobe is owed to the Royal Navy.
 
Throughout the day, visitors will also be able to learn more about the compelling stories from the Armed Forces, as a range of veterans will be sharing their accounts first-hand at the Vintage Tea Tent, whilst Poetry collective Tongues and Grooves and James Craze will be performing their own take on these narratives. 
 
Visitors will also be able to immerse themselves in the glamour and style of the past, with free Charleston dance classes on offer led by a team of talented instructors. Keeping up the vintage theme, the Swing Ninjas and the Three Belles will also be bringing their unique brand of 50s dance music to the party. 
 
There’s lots on offer for families, with HMS Hear My Story offering a WW1 inspired Morse Code School where children are invited to build their own ‘morse tapper’. They can also design their own dazzle ship with our Art of War activity. The Under 5’s will be able to join in the fun with our special little boats water –play area. 
 
In addition, young visitors will be able to join in with activities hosted by Action Stations, along with face painting and balloon modeling, while parents can relax and enjoy tea and cake at the Vintage Tea Tent or browse the Love Southsea Vintage Market for some hidden treasures. 
 
 

Baker. Soldier. ‘Sailor’

The story of Alfred Smith as a baker, a soldier and a ‘sailor’ is told in the different items kindly donated by his family. When the First World War broke out Alfred Frank Smith was a baker in Sussex; to 'do his bit' he joined the local Volunteer Training Regiment - a sort of Home Guard - but then in 1916 he opted to join the Royal Navy and go to sea.

However, instead of joining a ship he became an infantry soldier in the Royal Naval Division and, despite being a married man of 26, he was classified as a Boy Sailor! He was assigned to the 'Hood ' Battalion as a Lewis Gunner and sent to fight in the trenches in France. On the 28th September 1918 he was hit in the chest by a German bullet which lodged itself close to his heart. Luckily the bullet was at the end of its flight and it didn't cause serious damage. It was enough though to take Alfred out of the fight and into a convalescent camp at Blandford in Dorset where, wearing his blue hospital uniform, the local people would take him into their homes for meals. Demobilised in 1919 Alfred bought a Newsagent & Tobacconist shop in Lewis. He had 10 children and died in 1974 with the German bullet still lodged close to his heart.