Hundreds fall silent for fallen hereos

TOWNS and villages across Suffolk and Essex came to a standstill yesterday as thousands of people fell silent to pay tribute to the county's fallen heroes.

TOWNS and villages across Suffolk and Essex came to a standstill yesterday as thousands of people fell silent to pay tribute to the county's fallen heroes.

In Woodbridge, hundreds of residents packed out Church Street for an impeccably observed two minutes silence around the recently-restored war memorial.

People lined the steps of the historic Shire Hall to gain a view of the proceedings, which were attended by Troops from 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), based at the nearby Rock Barracks in Sutton Heath.

After several wreaths were laid by representatives of the armed forces, the town's churches and local community groups, many of those in attendance went on to a special service of remembrance, organised by the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

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The open air service on Market Hill saw town mayor Les Binns paid a moving tribute to John Cornwell, who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for gallantry after dying from his injuries sustained while serving on HMS Chester at the Battle of Jutland aged just 16.

He said: “I think he is typical of our present day heroes. We are very proud to be here amongst some of our local heroes and we thank them for being here today.”

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In Ipswich's Christchurch Park war veterans of campaigns past and present stood side by side to pay their respects to the town's lost sons.

It was the first time that soldiers killed since 1945 were honoured at the Ipswich Remembrance Parade.

Lorraine McClure, mother of Private Aaron McClure who was killed while serving in Afghanistan, laid a wreath to honour her son and the five other Ipswich-born soldiers killed in conflicts since 1945.

Ms McClure said “I feel totally honoured to have been able to have done that.

“It was very emotional but I'm lucky that my son's name is on that memorial after only two years - other families have been waiting for so much longer.”

The six soldiers were added to the cenotaph in May during the re-dedication of the memorial.

Organised by the Royal British Legion, the parade was attended by members of the 4 Army Air Corps, based in Wattisham, and various dignities including town mayor David Goldsmith and MPs Chris Mole and Sir Michael Lord.

In Stowmarket the annual proceedings were marked with a helicopter flypast as about 900 people turned out to pay tribute.

After a procession through the town, led by the band of the Stowmarket Boys' Brigade, a number of wreaths were hung on the memorial gates and the names of the town's lost servicemen were read out.

In Bury St Edmunds about 3,000 people gathered in Angel Hill to watch cadets, current service personnel and forces veterans parade from the town's Abbey Gate down to the War Memorial outside the borough offices.

Borough dignitaries and military personnel laid wreaths at the memorial and an Apache helicopter from RAF Wattisham made a fly past immediately after a two-minute silence at 11am.

During the laying of wreaths, it is understood two people collapsed and were attended by paramedics - one was a cadet, the second an elderly man in the crowd.

The service at St Mary's Church was led by the mayor of St Edmundsbury Pat Warby and RAF Honington's station commander Group Captain Nick Bray and was conducted by Rev Malcolm Rogers. The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Right Reverend Nigel Stock, was also present.

The Remembrance Day Service had added poignancy in the town this year because it came as 380 Royal Anglians, whose regimental headquarters is in Bury, start their six month tour in Helmand province.

The battalion, nicknamed “The Vikings”, suffered heavy losses during its last tour of Helmand in 2007 when nine of its soldiers were killed.

In Sudbury a parade was led by The Royal British Legion Corps of Drums which paraded north out of Market Hill to a service at the town's St Gregory's Church.

After the wreath laying at the British and American War Memorials, the parade marched via New Street and North Street to the Old Market Place where the Salute was taken outside the Town Hall by the mayor of Sudbury, Adrian Osborne, and Ted Wood, president of the Sudbury branch of the Royal British Legion.

The parade will then be dismissed on Market Hill and refreshments will be served in the Town Hall.

Elsewhere, Lavenham celebrated its first Remembrance Day parade in 20 years. Attended by American service personnel and members Royal Tank Regiment among others, wreathes were laid in the market place prior to a march past and then a church service.

Amid the preparations for Remembrance Day, a collection was held at The Five Bells pub in Great Cornard near Sudbury to have the names of the fallen re-engraved on the village war memorial. The cash was raised because the names had become almost unreadable.

The people of Colchester also gathered to remember their war dead in the town's annual Remembrance Sunday parade and service.

Crowds gathered outside the town hall in High Street which was closed off to allow veterans, serving military and local dignitaries to march down to the Castle Park war memorial yesterday morning.

The band of the Parachute Regiment led the parade and were headed by their Shetland Pony mascot, Pegasus.

Those marching to the war memorial included members of the Town Watch, standard bearers from more than 15 organisations, St John Ambulance workers, scouts and sea cadets.

A collection of historic military vehicles, which also appear at the town's military festival, joined the parade which was followed minutes later by Colchester borough councillors, the town's MP Bob Russell and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin.

The public who had come to pay their respects also walked down to the memorial, crowding into the square outside Castle Park with some standing on walls to get a better view.

As the last notes of the Parachute Regiment band's faded out the two minute silence began with rifle fire and the sounding of the last post.

Reveille was then played and the act of remembrance was led by councillor Terry Sutton who read the traditional: “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grown old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

Alderman Roger Browning, president of the Burma Star Association, concluded the act of remembrance with: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today.”

Colchester mayor Henry Spyvee began the wreath-laying followed by the commander of Colchester Garrison colonel Tom Fleetwood, colonel Hugo Fletcher for 16 Air Assault Brigade and Capt Joseph Biela, military attach� to the Polish embassy and the Royal British Legion.

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