Sunday, November 11, 2012
Thousands joined veterans of past conflicts and present-day servicemen and women as West Norfolk remembered the fallen today.
Towns and villages fell silent on the 11th hour, as Remembrance Sunday coincided with Armistice Day - the ending of the First World War.
In King’s Lynn, veterans of all three armed services, personnel from RAF Marham, cadets and scouts joined a civic procession from the Town Hall to Tower Gardens.
After the Last Post, West Norfolk Mayor Geoffrey Wareham read the exhortation: “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.”
The crowd replied: “We will remember them.” After a faultlessly-observed two-minute silence and a bugler’s Reveille, Wing Cdr Neil Tomlin, commander of Marham’s base support wing, read the Kohima Epitath.
“When you go home, tell them of us and say: ‘For your tomorrow we gave our today.”
A crowd of 2,000 or more packed into Tower Gardens in King’s Lynn under a cloudless sky.
More than 30 wreaths were laid at the stone memorial bearing the names of Lynners who lost their lives in conflicts stretching from the Baltic to the Falklands.
More than 500 of them fell in the First World War. The surnames are familiar around the area where their descendants live today, there are Batterbees and Buntings, Carters and Coopers, Waggs and Wrights.
Lynn lost far fewer in the Second World War, with just 19 names from the 1939 - 45 conflict. But the war brought pain and loss to some of the same families who had lost their sons, husbands and fathers in the first, while almost twice as many were killed in the town itself when a German bomber scored a direct hit on the packed Eagle Tavern, in Norfolk Street.
Until February, Lynn also housed the last-surviving veteran of the First World War. Florence Green, who passed away in February, aged 110, joined up a few months before the end of the conflict, serving in the mess at RAF Narborough.
As well as ex-service and veteran’s groups, there were tributes from the Rotary Club and the Round table, the Buffaloes and the masons.
After the hymm O God Our Help in Ages Past, prayers were led by the Revd Canon Christopher Ivory, vicar of King’s Lynn Minister.
“We are gathered on Remembrance Day, which is also the 94th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that marked an end to the First World War,” he said.
After prayers, the National Anthem was sung, before the parade formed up for the march back down St James’s Street, to the Town Hall.
Before the parade, West Norfolk council said it was expecting a record number of wreaths to be laid.
Afterwards, the council’s leader Nick Daubney said: “For the last few years or so, it seems to have got bigger every year. I think it’s something people feel very strongly about.”
Similar ceremonies took place at Gaywood, Hunstanton and Downham Market.