Gallery: Region falls silent to remember war dead

THOUSANDS of people across the region fell silent this morning to remember those who paid the ultimate price in battle to secure our freedom.

Jo Thewlis

THOUSANDS of people across the region fell silent this morning to remember those who paid the ultimate price in battle to secure our freedom.

The traditional two minutes' silence was observed at 11am to mark Armistice Day in Suffolk and Essex.

In Colchester, guns were fired to signal the start of the two-minute silence as shoppers in the High Street stood with heads bowed.

And on the Garrison about 2,000 troops stood on the main Parade Square of Merville Barracks.

Earlier today, the Garrison gymnasium, on Berechurch Road, was renamed The Corporal Budd VC Gymnasium in honour of Corporal Bryan Budd VC, of 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery when he died on 20 August 2006.

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The service was attended by members of Cpl. Budd's family.

And also this morning the families of more than a dozen soldiers from Colchester killed in Afghanistan and Iraq attended a service at the 16 Air Assault Brigade Memorial Garden.

The fallen soldiers honoured were from 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment; 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment; 7th Parachute Regiment Royal, Horse Artillery; and 13 Air Assault Support Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps.

Meanwhile, a solemn mood fell over a grey Ipswich morning as maroons fired from Christchurch Park to signal the start of the silence, which marks the moment the guns fell silent at the end of World War One on November 11, 1918.

Schoolchildren from Ipswich primary schools joined veterans at the town's two war memorials, where they planted wooden crosses decorated with a single red poppy to honour those who gave their lives for their country.

Adam Todd, 11, a pupil at Sidegate Primary School, said: “It was very moving because we remembered all the people who died.

“It is important children of our age can remember all the people who fought and died for our country.”

Poignancy was added to the ceremony as six wooden crosses were placed on the stone monuments in memory of the six soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week, who were flown home to the UK yesterday.

Robin Vickery, chairman of the Ipswich branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “People are coming in greater numbers now as it is being brought home to them with the trouble in Afghanistan.

“You see casualties mounting up and it is their way of showing support for the troops who have to fight the difficult battles.”

In Bury St Edmunds, shoppers stopped in silence as a mark of respect to the fallen while standard bearers from the Royal British Legion lined up around the town's War Memorial in Angel Hill.

A reading was given by Rev Malcolm Rogers, the chaplain to the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Pat Warby, prior to the sounding of the Last Post and the minute's silence that followed.

Amongst those gathered in the historic square in front of the Borough Offices were fire fighters, police and members of the public. Builders working on a nearby property downed their tools while the service was carried out.

While respects were paid on Angel Hill, a special service was held inside St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

The service was attended by about 20 students from King Edward School in Bury and a small choir from the school performed an anthem specially composed by John Ottley, a former school student.

Headteacher Geoff Barton said: “It's very striking just how deeply our present students feel affinity with those from the past who gave their lives.”

At Felixstowe, councillors and members of forces organisations gathered for a short-wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial on the seafront.

Standards were lowered as John Cresswell, of the volunteer coast patrol and rescue service, fired maroons to signal the start and finish of the two minutes silence.

Mayor of Felixstowe, Angel Goodwin and fellow town councillors were among those attending, along with members of the Royal British Legion and other associations, and representatives of community groups.

In Trimley St Martin, parish councillors from both the twin villages and forces organisations members gathered at the Peace Memorial in the grounds of Reeve Lodge to lay wreaths.