Thousands gather to pay respects at Remembrance Day services

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By The Bristol Post | Monday, November 12, 2012, 08:00

THEY gathered to pay their respects. Some had lost comrades, others family members – but all were united in paying tribute to those who have given their lives for their country.

Thousands paraded in the sunshine at yesterday's annual Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Bristol city centre, watched by thousands more who lined the streets.

As one, the crowd fell silent and bowed their heads as a gun boomed to signal the start of the two-minute silence.

As another gun blast signalled the end of the silence, the bugle call Reveille and a pipers' lament were played.

The crowd looked on as wreaths were placed at the base of the Cenotaph – each time the bearer of the wreath stepping away and proudly saluting their fallen comrades.

The Bishop of Bristol Mike Hill led the crowd in prayer while members of the Muslim and Jewish communities also gave readings from the Holy Qur'an and Old Testament.

Those assembled then sang the hymn Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past before reciting the Lord's Prayer.

The 30-minute service concluded with a rendition of the national anthem.

Shortly after, the assembled military, including the Royal Marines and Cadets, paraded up the hill to College Green.

Marchers followed a horse-drawn carriage occupied by the Lord Mayor of Bristol Peter Main, Lord Lieutenant Mary Prior MBE and High Sheriff Andrew Nisbet.

Lord Mayor of Bristol Councillor Peter Main said: "I am very honoured and moved to play a part in Remembrance Sunday.

"It's a magical display with young people and veterans marching past – it is marvellous.

"It's so important we remember all those from Bristol who have given their lives for their country in all conflicts."

High Sheriff Andrew Nisbet added: "I think Remembrance Sunday is as important today as it ever was.

"For many people, it is a reminder of the people who were sadly lost while serving their country and a reminder of those who are still fighting for their country today."

The importance of the day was captured by two veterans Ken Porter, 88, of St Anne's, and Bill Spring, 91, of Weston-super-Mare.

Mr Porter served in the Royal Navy and transferred troops to the beaches of Normandy.

He said: "It was a big turn out and it shows people still care and that means a lot to us. I think it is appreciated by those still serving as well.

"I lost some very good friends and this is my chance to remember them."

Mr Spring was with the Royal Artillery, 53rd Welsh Division.

He said: "It's so nice to see so many young people here. I think the war in Afghanistan has made them realise just what soldiers have to do for their country."

George Graham, 78, of Hartcliffe, served in the Royal Hampshires in Germany and Malaya.

He said: "I like to come here and remember my comrades, it's good to remember their courage."

Many young people also attended the event.

Jennifer Hanson, 28, of Shirehampton said: "I'm here because my brother is a soldier and just completed a tour in Afghanistan.

"It's important to remember people who have given their lives and those still serving in conflicts."

Francis Evans, 23, of Clifton, said: "I wanted to come to show my appreciation for soldiers who have given their lives for their country.

"Staying silent for two minutes once a year to remember them is nothing compared to what they gave us."

The ceremony was one of dozens held in the Bristol area to mark Remembrance Sunday.

A few hours after the service at the Cenotaph, hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects in Kingswood.

Members of the Kingswood and Hanham Royal British Legion led a parade from the Cecil Road car park to Holy Trinity Church.

They were joined by more than 100 young people in the march, including Royal Navy, Air Force and Army Cadets.

Anthony Bees, 60, of Kingswood was in the Reservists and attends the parade every year.

He said: "It's very important that people come and pay their respects and remember those who gave their lives for us.

"I also go to Normandy to visit the graves as one of my uncles is buried there after he was killed in the War."

On Friday schoolchildren, local traders and residents attended this year's Whiteladies Road Annual Act of Remembrance at the St John's war memorial in Clifton.

For the seventh year in a row, parish priest Father Richard Hoyal, of All Saints Church in Pembroke Road, conducted the service.

The event took place on a Friday so that local school children and business people could attend.

Father Hoyal said: "Every year the size of the crowd attending has exceeded that of the previous year – even with continuous torrential rain two years ago – and clearly this annual opportunity to pause and reflect is valued by many local people.

"More than 350 people attended this year and it was great to see so many young people and have such support from local businesses and residents."

The St John's war memorial is engraved with more than 80 names – all but six of them are local people who fell in the First World War.

During the ceremony Colonel Clive Fletcher-Wood, who lives in Redland, spoke the words of the exhortation, and Major Mick Scaife from Clifton College recited the words of the epitaph engraved on the memorial commemorating the men of the British 2nd Division who fell in the Battle of Kohima on the Indian/Burmese border in 1944.

The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by bugler Sergeant Major Martin Dove of the Army Cadet Force's Bristol Corps of Drums.

Meanwhile, a group of present and former Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rugby players gathered to remember the fallen.

Around 150 people, including directors and staff from the clubs, gathered by the gates of the Memorial Stadium in Horfield on Friday.

The Memorial Stadium was built to honour the memory of the rugby union players of Bristol who were killed during the First World War.

Every year Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rugby hold a memorial service outside the gates as a tribute to those who lost their lives. Reverend Peter Knight, himself a former Bristol Rugby player, led the short outdoor service, which was also attended by Year 6 children from Lockleaze Primary School.

Wreaths were laid and a two- minute silence was held at 11am.



  • Profile image for Lone_Ranger

    And referring to him as a "gatecrasher". Is it possible to "gatecrash" a free, public event?

    By Lone_Ranger at 11:57 on 12/11/12

  • Profile image for katachua

    Why did the Post give publicity to the prat in the pink?

    By katachua at 11:29 on 12/11/12

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