MEMBERS of the French navy will be joining the armed services for an annual remembrance parade, which this year marks the centenary of the Armistice.

The parade in Durham, which sets off from Palace Green at 11.30am on Sunday, will be led by the Rifles, the descendent regiment of the the Durham Light Infantry.

About 1,000 people are expected to take part in the parade through the city centre, which also includes members of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, the Royal Dragoon Guards, the Household Cavalry and the ship’s company of the French Navy patrol boat the ‘Pluvier’.

Parade organiser Arthur Lockyear said he believed Durham’s event was the only one in the UK to include French sailors and said it would be the biggest remembrance parade seen in the city for many years.

He said: “It’s going to be a great occasion in Durham. We’re going to be in the vanguard of marking the Armistice.

“I hope the families of the fallen and servicemen and women consider it to be an appropriate tribute to the fallen.”

Major Mike Hosegood, of the Rifles, said: “This year for the army, and for the country in general, is an extremely important year.

“It’s great the Rifles can be part of the parade in Durham because we are the County Durham regiment.”

The five regiments of the Foot Guards will also be represented by young Guardsmen from the Infantry Training Centre Catterick Garrison, along with the Life Guards and Blues and Royals, who will be taking part in Durham’s parade for the first time.

The parade will follow the service of remembrance at Durham Cathedral, which starts at 10.15am.

It sets of from outside the cathedral at about 11.30pm and will go past the Market Place, where there is a statue dedicated to the Durham Light Infantry, which was heavily involved in a number of campaigns during the First World War, and fought in every major battle of the conflict, including Ypres, Loos, Arras, Messines, Cambrai, on the Somme, in the mud of Passendale and in the final victory of 1918.

Also in the Market Place on Sunday will be a Second World War spitfire, which is visiting the city for the day.

The spitfire, which is a reproduction model made from parts from other aircraft, will be in the Market Place from 9am on Sunday and will be available to view all day.

People will also be able to view an exhibition by Durham artist Denis Fox, which is on at Durham Town Hall, also in the Market Place.

His pictures include one of an aircraft flown over the North-East coast on August 15, 1940, during the Battle of Britain

Inspired by the exploits of Harry Ettrick Welfield, of the 607 Squadron, who was declared the “hero of Tyneside” after engaging with German aircraft as they were about to release bombs over Tynemouth.

Mr Fox said: “They saved a lot of lives that day and they inflicted a lot of damage of the Luftwaffe

“I think people need to be reminded the Battle of Britain was truly a battle of Britain, and was happening in the North East, not just on the south coast.”

The exhibition, which also include an image of Seaham’s Tommy statue, will be on until November 22.