Every year on 11 November, a service is held at the Cross of Sacrifice in the Hamilton Road cemetery to mark Armistice Day. As this year the eleventh falls on Remembrance Sunday, the name of this years service was changed to a commemorative service for ‘The Falling of The Silence for Armistice’ and was held on Saturday 10th November.
This service was held at 1100hrs in extremely wet conditions, but this did not deter a large crowd attending to take part in the proceedings led by The Reverend John Lines MBE, Padre to the Downs Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) which also organise this service and the one on Sunday.
There were eight Standards on parade with the Branch Standard carried as usual by ‘Dusty’ Miller, and the Parade Marshall was Mr Julian De Zille (RBL). The music and bugle calls were provided by the Victory Wartime Band.
Among the many wreaths laid were those from our President Col David Storrie OBE, Mr Gerry Bowers laid a wreath for the Green Beret Association (GBA), and our town Mayor Cllr Nick Tomaszewski laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Deal. Mr Bob Davies also laid a Cross.
The main Service of Remembrance for the town was held at 1100 hrs on Sunday 11th at the Memorial Cross situated in the grounds of the Deal and Walmer War Memorial Hospital.
‘Dusty’ once again paraded our Branch Standard joining seven others and three youth groups Standards, and with a crowd of over 500 who gathered on a much better day than yesterday, dry with a little sunshine. The service began at 1050hrs with an introduction and prayers by Rev John Lines, and at 1100hrs the chimes of Big Ben rang out over all those assembled. This was followed by the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ sounded by CSgt ‘Pastie’ Cornish who stood high above the Hospital entrance. The Exhortation was given by Mr Austin Walker, President of the Downs Branch RBL, and the Kohima Epitaph by Mr Peter Wood, Burma star Association.
The Reviewing officer was the Rt Hon Sir Hugh Roberts KCMG DL (Life Guards Retd) who laid the first wreath, followed by our MP Mr Charlie Elphicke, our town Mayor Cllr Nick Tomaszewski, and then the many others which included our Chairman Mr Paul Richardson for the Branch, and Mr Gerry Bowers and Mr Ben Stones for the GBA.
The music for the occasion was played by the Snowdown Colliery Band, and Mr John Elms answered the question, ‘Why do you march old man?’.
On completion of the service a march took place with the veterans, which included a group of former Wrens, many young Army and RAF Cadets who were then followed by a large number of children’s organisations to the saluting Dias where the salute was taken by Sir Hugh Robertson.
A superb event befitting the 100 years anniversary of the end of WW1.
A social with a buffet and music was held in the RMA club afterwards, for which we thank once again our stewardess, Sue.