Picture gallery: Norwich crowds pay their respects

They began arriving to pay their respects before 10am to ensure the best possible vantage point around Norwich's war memorial.

Mums waiting to see their 'little soldiers' on parade with cadets stood alongside gnarled veterans, their polished medals gleaming in the sunlight.

It was evidently a family occasion with young children passed on to the shoulders of adults to see the arrival of the standard bearers.

On a balmy November morning with union flags hanging limply in barely a breath of wind, it seemed a million miles away from the horror of the first world war trenches.

However, Canon Peter Nokes, of St Peter Mancroft Church, who led the Remembrance Sunday service, reminded the impressive gathering that it was a day 'to shine a light on human courage' but also to reflect on the 'terrible, terrible loss of war'.

While the generation which had endured the first world war had almost entirely passed away, it was important to dwell on the experiences of that time.

Servicemen then had become bitterly aware of 'the gulf between the reality of modern war and the rhetoric and metaphor of people comfortably at home'.

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It was also the first war which reached out into almost every household, 'a war where everyone was vulnerable'.

Following the laying of the wreaths, with the Lord Mayor of Norwich Jenny Lay placing one on behalf of the city, there was enthusiastic support for the service, the joyful sound of hymn singing lightening the atmosphere.

As the clock struck 11am, it was noticeable that some of the spectators became lost in their private thoughts and memories.

During the perfectly observed two minutes silence, one woman could be seen dabbing her eyes, while a father in uniform was closely clutching his young son.

The tense emotion of the occasion was lifted at the end of the service as the crowd erupted into spontaneous applause to herald the ex-servicemen's parade to the cathedral.

The parade, led by the Norwich Citadel Band, included members of the Royal British Legion, voluntary organisations, personnel from RAF Marham, as well as army, navy and airforce cadets.

Crowds lined the streets and continued the applause along the route to the cathedral where a second service was held.

Brian Harris, 73, from Acle, chairman of the local branch of the Royal Engineers Association, said: 'It is wonderful to see so many people of ages supporting Remembrance Sunday. One reason it has got stronger is that the events in Afghanistan are reported as they happen and it is in everyone's eyes.'

Former soldier Mervyn Howard, 77, of Hellesdon, was proud to lay a wreath on behalf of Korean Veterans' Association.

He said: 'It is important to try to understand what the young people who were called up for the first and second world wars went through.

'I was only eight at the end of the second world war and when I joined a trip to Normandy a couple of years ago it was a real eye opener for me.'