Region remembers fallen heroes

VETERANS, workers, children and their parents were united in silence across East Anglia yesterday as the nation remembered those who had fallen in war.

VETERANS, workers, children and their parents were united in silence across East Anglia yesterday as the nation remembered those who had fallen in war.

The two-minute silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was respected in towns throughout Suffolk and Essex, and thousands turned out at official remembrance services.

More than 200 children from primary schools in Ipswich gathered at the First and Second World War graves in the Old Cemetery in Belvedere Road for services led by Canon Alan Willett and Revd Andrew Dotchin.

The school pupils, who came from Sidegate Lane Primary School, Springfield Lane Primary, St John's Primary and Belstead Special School, lay crosses at more than 200 war graves.

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The Last Post sounded to mark the start of the remembrance service, which was attended by Ipswich Mayor Bill Wright and Deputy Mayor Roger Fern, and the young visitors stood remarkably still and silent.

Peter Thompson, chairman of the Ipswich branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “They were very well behaved. They really took it to heart. It's nice to see.

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“It's a very moving service seeing the children there putting their crosses down. You can see it means something to them. It's important they're told what it's all about.”

The two-minute silence represents the moment when the guns fell silent in November 1918 at the end of the First World War.

Veterans led the remembrance service in Bury St Edmunds and were joined by young families as well as civic dignitaries.

Many in the crowd had made a special journey in memory of friends and loved ones but there were many ordinary visitors and workers who felt compelled to join the remembrance crowds.

After the traditional two minutes silence and prayers offered to the dead, President of the Bury branch of the Royal British Legion, Ron Day, thanked the crowds for their support.

“It went very well,” he said. “And on behalf of the legion I would like to thank everyone for the good turnout.”

For Gary Tarpley, from Bury, the service had particular significance: “I've been coming down for years but I particularly wanted to come this year because it was this time last year that I buried my father.

“He was a soldier in last war and I've come to pay my respects. The nation will still remember them for their sacrifice - I don't think anyone will forget what happened.”

Young Bury mother Karen Page said: “I was in town and I saw the people here and it just made me think about things.

“I want to remember what other people have gone through. I hope that my son will be taught about what happened at school and learns about why it is important to do this.”

Bill Rice, chairman of the Bury branch of the Royal Naval Association, said that it had been an excellent turn out.

He also expressed confidence the ex-servicemen's associations would carry on leading the remembrance ceremonies despite dwindling numbers.

“There is strong feeling among the associations that they will become amalgamated and with new young associate members we will continue to keep the ceremonies going.”

At Mildenhall and Red Lodge record crowds of all ages came to pay their respects at the war memorials, where services were led by their respective British legion branches. Ceremonies were also held in Newmarket, Sudbury and Haverhill.

Framlingham's Market Hill came to a halt at 11am, and at Saxmundham, white doves were released as wreaths were laid on the town's new war memorial in Fromus Square.

Town council chairman Richard Smith laid one of five wreaths, and prayers, led by the Reverend Richard Webb, followed a two-minute silence.

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