Communities come together to remember the human cost of war
At 11am yesterday, on the nearest Sunday to Remembrance Day gatherings large and small fell silent to remember those who ‘shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old’.
Whether they packed town streets or stood around a modest memorial on a village green or churchyard, their act of remembrance brought communities together to remember those who did not come back from two World Wars and many conflicts since.
In Hessett, Sunday’s Remembrance Service had extra meaning because it also marked the rededication of the village’s 1920 memorial to those lost a century ago in World War One.
The project was organised and funded by the Friends of Hessett Church with other private donations and more than 50 people attending the service were given a booklet with the stories of the 14 who died out of 52 men from the village who enlisted to fight.
Two are buried in Hessett churchyard. John Whiting died of his wounds in a military hospital in London after being shot at the Somme in 1916 and William Borley died from influenza three days after the Armistice.
In Mildenhall, personnel from RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath joined local people at the war memorial in Kingsway. The parade, which also included the town’s cadet forces, formed up in Recreation Way to march to the memorial for the wreath laying.
After the parade, West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock said: “Remembrance Sunday is a time when we remember the cruel reality of war and the never ending debt of gratitude we owe to those serving across our armed forces, both past and present. We must never forget the sacrifices they made for our freedom.“
In Stowmarket, a much larger parade, organised by the Royal British Legion, formed at Red Gables to march to St Peter and St Mary’s Church for a remembrance service, after which, at noon, it reformed to march to the Memorial Gates, in Finborough Road, for a wreath laying ceremony.
The gates’ bronze plaques were restored last year, making it easier to read the 77 names on them of men who fell in World War One.
Some small villages held their remembrance events at times other than the traditional 11am on Sunday so as not to clash with larger parades. In West Row, a small party of British and Americans, including current service people, attended a short wreath laying service on the tiny village green on Saturday.
It was an act echoed in towns and villages across the country, and, whether in a church service below a plaque with a handful of names or as a specially organised parade to a memorial with a long roll of honour, young and old came together to remember those who lost their lives in war.