Bury St Edmunds’ long connection with the military showed when the town turned out yesterday for the annual Remembrance Sunday parade and service.
Crowds lined Angel Hill as RAF Honington’s Volunteer Band led the parade of past and present service people, civic dignitaries and the current generation of cadets out for the wreath laying at the town’s war memorial, followed by a march past to a service of remembrance at St Mary’s Church.
There were contingents in the Royal British Legion organised event from RAF Honington and the Army Air Corps’ Wattisham flying station as well as USAF airmen from RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath.
For the first time, the Honington marching contingent included eight white capped members of 1 (Tactical) Police Squadron who moved here from RAF Henlow in June as part of Number 3 RAF Police Wing.
But if the marching soldiers and airmen looked impressive, the day really belonged to the veterans – the people who had seen service in World War Two and conflicts since, from Korea in the early 1950s to Afghanistan.
Marching with their own medals bright on their left breast, and, perhaps, a relative’s, from an earlier conflict, on the right they showed their determination that ‘we shall remember them’, as the oft quoted verse of Robert Binyon’s poem For the Fallen promised.
These were the people for whom remembrance is not a just worthy concept, but is about real people, the friends and comrades who did not make it back and who may even have died in front of them.
It was those they remembered as the Last Post sounded, the colours were lowered and the bustle of Angel Hill stilled to a rare silence.
Barrie Clarke, (EMB Standard bearer) with John Limb (who laid the wreath) at todays Remembrance Day parade at Lincoln Cathedral.
Lincoln saw a moving tribute to the armed forces today as the Cathedral marked Remembrance Sunday.
Servicemen and women from across the decades were joined by the public and dignitariesto remember personnel who gave their lives during conflicts past and present.
Hundreds of people including families with young children attended the service and wore their poppies and Medals of Honour with pride.
John Curtis, 81, served 22 years in the RAF Police all over the world and now belongs to the RAF Police Association.
"For me it's very important to remember and very important that young people learn," John said.
"Some of the young don't appreciate what went on in the various conflicts. I have lost many friends over the years and it's important the young know what happened."
As the service began in Lincoln Cathedral, the crowds stood as a procession including the Representative of the Royal British Legion and Standard Bearers marched through the hall and were received at the altar.
After a prayer, the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, The Very Reverend Phillip Buckley, began proceedings.
He said: "We commit ourselves to work in penitence and faith for reconciliation between the nations, that all people may together live in freedom, justice and peace."
"We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror.
"We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives, in world wars past and present, have been given and taken away."
The Last Post was played before all observed a two-minute silence.
A member of the ex-servicemen then read the poignant Kohima Epitaph - "When you go home, tell them of us and say: for your tomorrow, we gave our today".
Several dignitaries and representatives of the service men and women lay wreaths at the alter.
David Pell, from Skellingthorpe, served 22 years in the armed forces and now belongs to the Parachute Regimental Association.
"It is about teaching the younger generation and making sure it never happens again," said David.
Former RAF man and British Empire Medal recipient Peter Gregson attended the service with his wife Pamela. Both have family members who served heroically in the Second World War.
Peter said: "It doesn't matter what service it is - we need to support our troops.
"We need to educate the young and do whatever it takes to achieve peace."
Pamela added: "It is for my father, my uncle, his brothers and for everybody who gave so much."
"You really have to support our troops."
It was a particularly poignant commemoration as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and 70 years since the D-Day landings.
"Then there were two!"
Two generations of royal servicemen led the tributes of a nation at London's remarkable Field of Remembrance today.
Prince Philip, who served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War, and his grandson, Prince Harry, who recently left the Army after a decade which included two frontline tours of Afghanistan, each placed a cross to add to the 100,000 already planted by the Royal British Legion to mark remembrance week.
Still ram rod straight despite his 94 years, Philip was wearing his Royal Navy day ceremonial and overcoat as he walked up to lay his tribute in the North Green outside Westminster Abbey.
Harry was in his Blues and Royals frock coat as he followed him, placing his own cyphered cross in front of two wooden crosses from the Graves of Unknown British Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars, before saluting before he walked away.
Scroll down for video
Each November the Royal British Legion establishes a Field of Remembrance in the Abbey grounds, a sea of crosses with scarlet poppies, in tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The first Field of Remembrance was held in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in November 1928. That year only two Remembrance Tribute Crosses were planted.
But it began a tradition that took root and has grown over the decades. Each Remembrance Tribute now carries a personal message to someone who lost his or her life in the Service of our country.
Arriving at Westminster Harry and his grandfather were greeted by the Dean of Westminster, who said in prayers: ‘For the 87th time at the Field of Remembrance we meet again to remember those who have their lives in the conflicts of our time that we might enjoy freedom and peace.
‘With full hearts at this, our Field of Remembrance, let us pray for the peace of the whole world.’
The Last Post was sounded from the parapet of St Margaret’s Church by a trumpeter from the Scots Guards and an Exhortation of Remembrance said by Sarah Jones, President of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory and the widow of Lieutenant-Colonel ‘H’ Jones, who was awarded a posthumous VC after being killed in the battle in Goose Green during the Falklands War.
After two minutes’ silence, Philip and Harry toured the plots of poppy crosses, each inscribed with the name of a man of women who had lost their life, and chatted to veterans and families who were there in memory of their loved ones.
Harry admired the knitted Foreign Office hat and poppy of Colonel Edward Toms from Hythe, Kent, a former Seaforth Highlander and SAS volunteers.
He also chatted with Royal Air Force veteran Ron Meades, 94, from Weymouth, who said: ‘It’s the only place I want to be today, remembering those who can’t be here, those who passed away. I say to people – and I told Prince Harry – that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere he else, and he agreed.’
Brian Bloom, national chairman of The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, showed a fascinated Prince Philip a cross in memory of the late Elias Cohen, who perished when a ship commended by his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was attacked.
‘He was fascinated to learn about the link,’ he said.
Barry Lewis, from Hawkwell, Essex, was at the Abbey in memory of his son, Aaron, who was just 26 when he was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2008 during his first operational deployment.
He was accompanied by Aaron’s god-daughter Rhiannan, who proudly wore his medals as Harry stopped to speak to her.
‘It’s been a hard few years,’ he said of his son, who was commissioned at Sandhurst and a member of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.
‘But Aaron wanted to make a difference in the world, which is one of the reasons he deployed to Afghanistan.
‘Since his death we have set up a charity in his name and have begun to work with former servicemen suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder which is an issue close to Prince Harry’s heart.’
Harry also stopped to speak to Bill Speakman, one of only a handful of living Victoria Cross holders, who was honoured for his gallantry in Korea where he served with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in 1951.
Reports said that after he ran out of grenades he began throwing empty beers bottles at the enemy and despite being wounded, repelled charge after charge, enabling his vastly outnumbered company to withdraw safely.
The 88-year-old said: ‘I am hugely proud and honoured to be here, among such lovely company and paying tribute to those who gave their lives.’
Before he left Harry also posed for photograph with Fred and Dawn Holmes from Wantage, Oxfordshire, whose daughter Sarah was just 26 when she died following a car accident in Iraq in 2007.
Mr Holmes was carrying a photograph of her daughter, who was in the Royal Logistics Corps, which she showed to the prince and told him: ‘She loved the army, it was all she wanted to do.
‘She joined as soon as she left school but died in a car accident as they made a delivery to the British embassy.’
As the prince and his grandfather left there was a lighter note as a friendly Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Sergeant Watchman bent down on his front paws and bowed to Philip.
Harry lent down to stroke the impeccably-behaved animal, who is the mascot of the Staffordshire Regimental Association.
‘Hello boy, I remember you,’ said the prince.