A crowd of up to 1,000 Eastleigh townsfolk joined veterans, servicemen and cadets gathered on the recreation ground today (Sunday 11 Nov) to pay homage to the fallen of two world wars,
Eastleigh’s first citizen, Mayor Malcolm Cross accompanied by the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire Andrew Kent were joined by MP Mike Thornton and representatives from Eastleigh’s twin towns; Councillor March Thiberville from Villenueve Saint-Georges France and Burgermeister Dietmar Allgaier of Kornwestheim in Germany.
The service was led by the Mayors’ chaplain the Reverend Peter Vargeson.
Addressing the congregation His Worship the Mayor said:
“War has terrible consequences with death, injuries, physical and mental torments and destruction of communities. We are here to remember at this service today, those who have fallen. We are laying these wreaths and crosses to say we remember the sacrifices they made so we can live in peace today.
“We will remember them.”
Councillor Marc Thiberville then said:
“When the First World War broke out almost a century ago nobody could imagine how horrible this conflict would be. Millions of soldiers buried in trenches, starving, frightened and dirty. Millions of families mourning for a father, brother or a son. Millions of women in France working hard, even on the front. Devastated land, villages destroyed. After such destruction no one believed it could happen again but we know what happened 20 years later.
“Someone once said Peace, will not be based on the fear of war but on the love of peace.
“We must learn to love peace.”
Burgermeister Algaier also spoke of the ongoing horrors of war and suggested we should also remember victims of acts of terrorism.
Wreaths were laid by the visiting dignitaries and also Councillor Godfrey Olson OBE, Private Sam Chandler of The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.
Police Sergeant Mark Brearley of Eastleigh Safer Neighbourhoods’ team laid a wreath n behalf of Hampshire Constabulary.
Also laying wreaths were members of The Royal British Legion, The Borneo and Malaya Veterans, The Eastleigh Ghurkha and Nepali Association, Polish Ex-Combatants Association, 11 Platoon Hampshire Army Cadets, 1216 (Eastleigh) Squadron Air Training Corps, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Eastleigh Twinning association, Eastleigh Lions, The Salvation Army, St John’s Ambulance and Scout and Guide Organisations.
Local political groups laid wreaths too and Labour Parish Councillor Peter Luffman was accompanied by his young grandson also named Peter.
After the ceremony the parade lined up for a march past the Point led by the ‘Spitfires’ – the 14th Eastleigh Scout and Guide band which had supplied music during the ceremony from the Bandstand.
The parade was preceded by a motorcycle cavalcade by the ‘Royal British Legion riders’.
The Mayor took the salute and the dignitaries were joined by councillors including Cllr Paul Bicknell who is chair of Eastleigh Local Area committee and Cllr Dan Clarke the Vice-Chair of Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee.
Former mayors Martin Kyrle and Glynn Davies-Dear were also present as were Hampshire County Councillors Martin Lyon and Chris Greenwood.
The last post was sounded by bugler Trevor Dacombe of Romsey Old Cadet’s band.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Tony Noyce will also be attending the Armistice Day ceremony marking the two minute silence on Monday 11 November at the War Memorial in Leigh Road Recreation Ground.
All pics: © Stephen Slominski 2013