War heroes remembered across region

THOUSANDS of people from across the region were united in silence as they gathered to honour those who died to protect our freedom.Suffolk's war heroes were remembered by young and old yesterday in a series of poignant ceremonies throughout the county to mark Remembrance Sunday.

THOUSANDS of people from across the region were united in silence as they gathered to honour those who died to protect our freedom.

Suffolk's war heroes were remembered by young and old yesterday in a series of poignant ceremonies throughout the county to mark Remembrance Sunday.

In Ipswich, a solemn air descended on Christchurch Park where crowds congregated in front of the cenotaph for a moving service conducted by the Rev Canon Allen Willett.

“We are able to live in freedom now because in two World Wars and campaigns since then thousands gave their lives to preserve us from tyranny and oppression. We must never forget the cost they paid,” he said.


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Hundreds of people joined the rest of the nation in observing a two minutes silence at 11am as they remembered those who sacrificed their lives in both World Wars as well as in recent conflicts in the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The service finished with a wreath laying ceremony with offerings from the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk Lord Tollemache, Ipswich mayor Bill Wright, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk Fire Service, HMS Grafton, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps from RAF Wattisham and the Royal British Legion.

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Alan Doulton, 76, from the town, said: “It really is excellent to see all these people here and especially the youngsters. We seem to get more and more every year and people do seem to be taking it more seriously. I'm not sure why that is possibly because of all the recent troubles we have had but it is good to see because it is important to keep the tradition alive.”

In Southwold, members of the Southwold and Reydon Corps of Drums led a parade, including children and pensioners, members of the Red Cross and of the local lifeboat crew, from the town's market place to its war memorial next to St Edmund's parish church.

Poppy wreaths from veterans and local organisations were laid in silence at the site before a packed church service. Veterans taking part in the day's events turned their thoughts to memories of the conflict and fallen comrades.

“I lost a friend out there,” said Leslie Barber, 86, a former RAF fitter who served in the Middle East.

“It's very important to remember, but unfortunately the older population now are dying off.”

Dennis McDermott, a former captain in the Dorset Regiment, landed in Normandy just 10 days after D-Day and was part of the liberation forces.

He served at Arnhem and was awarded the Military Cross after he was wounded in battle at Germany's border.

“We feel very proud of the effort made by the men of that generation. They were written off by the men of the Great War,” he said.

His wife, Rosa, who served in the Wrens and for a time was based in Scotland as part of the Combined Operations, said: “We came because we must. We couldn't possibly not come. I think we leave our memories at home, because it's a bit upsetting. It can make you feel very sad. We do feel very sad.”

Frank Mortlock, 78, who served with the Royal Signals Corps in Italy and Palestine, said he felt knowledge of what had happened was being passed down the generations.

In Bury St Edmunds, three military helicopters performed a flypast after an emotional wreath laying ceremony on Angel Hill.

Ex-servicemen's associations, local military chiefs - including representatives from RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath - and civic dignitaries laid wreaths at the famous square's granite memorial.

In Stowmarket, the parade met at the Milton Road car park and made its way to the Market Place for a church ceremony by the Rev Michael Eden.

More than 500 people were at the service, which was followed by a march to the memorial gates and a flypast by 3 Regiment Army Air Corps from RAF Wattisham.

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