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UPDATED: Dorset stands still for Remembrance Day events
12:16pm Sunday 11th November 2012 in News
Deputy mayor Cllr Chris Rochester lays a wreath at Bournemouth's war memorial. Picture: Richard Crease
Words by Darren Slade in Bournemouth, Andy Martin in Poole and Julie Magee in Christchurch
DORSET stood still today as services of Remembrance took place all over the county.
Hundreds packed Bournemouth’s Central Gardens as the town gathered for its act of Remembrance.
A parade made its way through the Square and the gardens ahead of the service just before 11am. It consisted of war veterans, members of the armed forces, cadets and the Salvation Army, and was met at the war memorial by a procession of councillors, aldermen and MPs.
The Rev Ian Terry, Bournemouth’s town sector rector, led the ecumenical service.
“We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror,” he said.
“We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives, in world wars and conflicts past and present, have been given and taken away.”
Many who lined the gardens along the Bourne Stream were visibly moved as they stood in silent contemplation of those who gave their lives in the armed services.
The deputy mayor, Cllr Chris Rochester, red the exhortation beginning “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old”. He laid a wreath in the absence of the mayor, Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts, who was taken ill earlier this week.
Following the Last Post and the two minutes’ silence, words were red by Corporal Daniel Wijesinghe and Cadet Sophie Edmonds of the Bournemouth Combined Cadet Force.
Psalm 23 was read in English and Hebrew by Rabbi Neil Amswych of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue and Rabbi Adrian Jesner of Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation, and the collective prayer was led by Deacon Roger Carr-Jones, representing the Catholic community.
Other clergy attending were Linda Pain of Bournemouth Free Church Council, Major Stephen Whittingham of the Salvation Army and Imam Majid Yasin of Bournemouth Central Mosque.
Among those laying wreaths at the war memorial was Andrea Johnson, whose son Rifleman Jonny Allott, from Kinson, died at the age of 19 in Afghanistan in 2010. “It doesn’t get any easier,” she said.
In Poole, A beautiful, clear blue sky and bright sunshine provided the perfect backdrop for the Remembrance Day service in Poole Park.
The quiet and peaceful setting of the green heart of the borough was ideal for reflecting on conflicts past and current.
Among the 2,000 or so gathered around the memorial were many families with young children, showing that the duty of remembering the fallen is not something in danger of dying out as veterans of the Second World War pass away.
The families included Matthew and Sarah Coe of Poole with their daughters Caitlin, 5 and Amelia, 2.
"We just think it is so important to bring them and start the process of explaining why we must remember," said Matthew. The two minutes silence at 11am was impeccably observed.
The service was conducted by the Mayor's chaplain, the Reverend Roger Green. He reminded those present that they stood there in respect and gratitude, "two qualities very desperately needed in our society today".
And using the example of a World War Two veteran who had met his torturer many years after the end of the conflict, he spoke of the power and liberating nature of forgiveness. He added: "Sadly we remember ongoing conflict with the fresh pain and suffering it brings."
Prayers were led by Major Stephen Brevitt of the Salvation Army, with a special emphasis on those on front line duty now.
"Keep them safe and speed the day when their service is not needed as it is now, " he said. The Kohima Epitaph for those who died in Burma was read by the niece of two local recipients of the Burma Star.
As a historical reminder of what Poole might have looked during the 1939-45 conflict, a number of military vehicles including keeps and trucks lined the road in the park. They belonged to members of the 29th US Infantry Re-enactment Group and the Military Vehicle Trust, both based in Poole.
Stevan Bennett of the MVT said: "We come here every year and we feel its important. There's a lot of interest in the vehicles and a visible reminder of that war and the sacrifices made."
The vehicles later drove in convoy down to the quay to lay a wreath at the US Coastguard memorial.
Hundreds turned out to honour the Fallen in Christchurch. All ages took part in a large parade from the old Town Hall, led by Christchurch Royal British Legion Band, along the High Street to the Priory church where the Royal British Legion Service of Remembrance was held.
It was a poignant occasion or three generations of one family who joined to pay tribute to a much-missed husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Ann Mariner, 72, from Hengistbury Head proudly wore her late husband Eric’s medals along with her late father Tom Jordan’s medals. Her daughter Petrea Stacey wore one of her father’s medals and Ann’s granddaughter Vicky Bullen displayed another of Eric’s medals.
Ann said: “My father, a Burma veteran, died about 12 years ago but my husband, who served in Italy, passed away in April this year. It has been a very sad time for us all.”
Under a canopy of blue skies, the first wreaths were laid by Christchurch Mayor, Cllr Peter Hall and Christchurch Royal British Legion President Eric Barnes.
The mood was sombre as the band played and representatives of the armed forces, youth organisations as well as various clubs paid their respects at the Garden of Remembrance in the Priory grounds.
Brothers Brian and Bruce Worthy were among veterans who had turned out to honour those who had sacrificed their lives for freedom.
Parade marshal Brian, 74, said: “As well as Bruce and I, two of our brothers served in the Blues and Royals regiment. We all survived and are here to honour our father and grandfather who served in the First World War.”
Bruce, 69, said: “There has been a bigger turn-out than usual, maybe partly due to the good weather but I think Afghanistan has made people more aware of how important it is to remember those who have paid such a high price for peace.”
Later the vicar of St Mark’s Church in Highcliffe , the Rev Garry Taylor, led the choir and civic party from the church hall in Hinton Wood Avenue to the war memorial for a Remembrance Day service before a special Remembrance Day service in the church. Earlier in the day, Purewell Cross war memorial provided the setting for a short but poignant Remembrance Day service this morning.
Christchurch MP Chris Chope joined civic dignitaries, Royal British Legion officers and representatives from local youth organisations for a service conducted by Priory parochial reader David Hewitt.
Mr Hewitt paid tribute to all those who have been injured or lost their lives in conflicts, adding: “Remember the men and women who, even now, are prepared to make their own sacrifice in the cause of righteousness and peace.”
Mayor Cllr Peter Hall laid the first wreath at the memorial with Christchurch British Legion President Eric Barnes laying a second tribute. Veteran Joe Waterman laid a wreath to honour all those who lost their lives in operations from Christchurch airfield during the Second World War.
The 88-year-old former president of the Royal Naval Association volunteered for the Royal Navy Fleet Arm in 1942 at the age of 18. Proudly displaying his gleaming medals, he said: “Part of my service was here in Christchurch on HMS Raven, the naval air radio installation unit. There was no accommodation at HMS Raven so we all lived at private houses; my wife Joan was my landlady’s daughter and we married at the Priory Church in 1948.”
The couple, now proud grandparents, remained in Christchurch and have a son and daughter.
Other veterans included Donald Tomkins, 81, who was representing the Dunkirk veterans. Only passing traffic and birdsong interrupted the crisp November air as the assembled group observed a two minute silence in memory of The Fallen.
The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by Christchurch British Legion Band bugler Blake Harmer, 29, who also played later at the town’s Remembrance Day parade later.
The Area Dean of Bournemouth conducted the service at St John the Evangelist Church in Holdenhurst village. The Rev Andy McPherson, who is also church vicar, was assisted by retired Forces’ chaplain the Rev Steve Parselle (corr) who lives in the parish and preached the sermon. Team vicar, the Rev Wendy Searle said: “The church was packed with the service focusing on the War Memorial Homes which are in the parish. There were representatives from the War Memorial Homes and a veteran also attended.
“It was a marvellous service, showcasing local talent, with Councillor John Adams playing the bagpipes and Holdenhurst resident Edward Wickham on the trumpet.”
Residents in Moordown remembered those who have lost their lives in conflicts all over the world at the Halifax memorial on the corner of Meadow Court Close and Wimborne Road. A wreath and crosses were laid for both the servicemen and the two civilians who died as a result of the crash.
An additional cross was laid in memory of Bournemouth East MP David Atkinson, who died in January this year and was instrumental in bringing the memorial project to fruition.
Cllr Sue Anderson, a member of the Moordown 2010 Committee, said: “There was a good turnout, including a 91-year-old veteran from Verwood who flew in the same squadron and is intending to return next year."
The Minster Green war memorial provided the setting for a Remembrance Day service in Wimborne and a Royal British Legion service was held at the Minster church in the afternoon.
St Mary’s church in Ferndown also hosted a Service of Remembrance for local residents in the afternoon.
The Mowlem building in Swanage was the starting point for a parade which made its way to St Mary’s church for a Remembrance Day service in the afternoon. Later, the parade reformed and marched to the war memorial for a wreath laying ceremony.
In Wareham ,Lady St Mary’s Church provided the setting for a morning service before a Remembrance Day ceremony at the war memorial.
At Upton, a parade went from the Royal British Legion Hall to Lytchett Minster Church. Leading the march was the Meridian Corps of Drums, with bugler Simon Kilminster playing the Last Post.
Steve Tarrant, a former bandsman whose disability means he now watches the parade, said: “It was a very well organised and run event, with a very sizeable crowd in the parade and following it.”
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