Fallen heroes remembered and honoured
HUNDREDS of people have honoured the brave souls lost to the Second World War at a moving ceremony in Ipswich.More than 600 fallen servicemen and women were publicly honoured as plaques were unveiled in Christchurch Park, yesterday.
HUNDREDS of people have honoured the brave souls lost to the Second World War at a moving ceremony in Ipswich.
More than 600 fallen servicemen and women were publicly honoured as plaques were unveiled in Christchurch Park, yesterday.
Sixty years on from the war and 11 years after the idea for the plaques was first put forward, the ceremony was tinged with both relief and sadness as people remembered the lives which were cut short.
Hush descended on the park's memorial as sunbathers cleared a way for the parade of cadets.
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Veterans bearing standards marched to the cenotaph with only the sounds of their footsteps and the clinking of their proudly worn medals audible.
The crowd swelled around the memorial with comrades of those listed on the plaques, war widows and many generations of relatives observing the service before laying wreaths of their own.
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The ceremony, which also re-dedicated the World War One memorial featuring 1,200 names, started with an introduction from Peter Thompson, area chairman of the Royal British Legion, who saw years of campaigning culminated.
The Mayor of Ipswich, Penny Breakwell, asked the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lord Tollemache, to unveil the plaques, which were shrouded behind Great British flags.
A scripture reading then followed with a dedication from the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
Prayers, hymns, a poem and the last post, played by buglers from the Royal Hospital Band, were also heard emanating from the park as the service continued, with many people visibly affected by the solemn proceedings.
Military and ex-service personnel laid wreaths at the base of the plaques before the blessing was given and the Sunset Ceremony started on the mansion lawn, with shots being fired in salute.
After the service, Reg Driver, president of the area's Royal British Legion, admitted he was personally honouring five of his former school friends whose names appear on the plaques.
He said: “We have given Ipswich people now something that they can see the names of their next of kin, relatives and the ones they loved.”
Mr Thompson said: “I am relieved as it has taken a lot of hard work. Fundraising is always difficult to organise but the people have been very generous, especially the widows and the council.
“I know for a fact that people who have got the names of their relatives on there must feel proud.
“Some of the letters I have received about what people went through in Ipswich have been very sad.”
Kenneth Joy, from Ipswich, served in the war in Korea and Malaya and was remembering some of his fallen comrades yesterday
He said: “I think it was lovely to see the turn out, especially the youngsters. The music was good and everything was right.
“It is very long overdue but then it took 10 years for them to do it for the First World War.”
Lorraine Tovell, from Kesgrave, said she had mixed feelings as she was there to honour her grandfather, who died in the battle of Crete and was buried on the island, but who she never knew.
She said: “It is sort of like a funeral but in some ways it is nice as the bands and everything are all the sorts of things he was used to. It is keeping the memory alive.”
Four generations of one family was at the cenotaph and laid a wreath for Herbert Taylor, known as Ken, who was killed in Italy.
His son, Ken Taylor, said that before his father's name appeared on the plaque there was nowhere for him to visit in this country on pertinent days.
He added: “If it wasn't for the people of Ipswich putting in money then this would never have got done.”
More money is needed to fully restore the cenotaph, including proper cleaning of the First World War memorial, and any contributions to Mr Thompson would be welcomed.
For more information visit www.cenotaph.co.uk.