Remembrance Weekend 2017

One of the features of being a sapper is remembering those who have given their lives for their country.  This remembrance day was no different since it was first started after World War One when so many people gave.

Gravesend Sappers had a busy day in and around the Borough attending a number of ceremonies.

The Hill Northfleet

Dave Ward attended a service at the hill Northfleet and laid our wreath alongside our member of parliament, the deputy mayor David Hurley Rosemary Dymond, for the Lord Lieutenant,  Kent Scouts the Rotary Club Police Fire Service and others.  The salvation Army Band played during the service conducted by the Reverend Joe King it was a cold and windy morning but this didn’t deter a large number of people from attending  to show their respects.

Fields of Remembrance, Gravesend Borough Market & Cenotaph.

Bill Stanley attended the annual Fields of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey on Thurs 9th.

Bill said, “There were over 6,000 present representing Regiments past and present. The Royal Engineers had a large plot of crosses etc, but there was only a small group of onlookers from the REA. Prince Harry was present.”










On the 11th Bill went with Jamie to attend the Gravesend Armistice ceremony which was held for some unknown reason in the Borough Market this year.   There’s not much to say about this except when we checked the towns website we were drawn to a ceremony in the town square which was clearly last years information (ed) and when we were there it wasn’t well organised.

Bill also formed up at the Cenotaph in Whitehall On Sunday 12th with the 60 strong REA Bomb Disposal Branch contingent.

He said, “Despite the wet start to the day the weather turned out good in our favour.  Lots of old friendships were renewed and new friendships established. After the parade we made for the “Branch pub”, The Sherlock Holmes in Northumberland Ave for a few pints and a catch up.”

Garrison Church – Brompton

The RE Garrison Church serves what was the thriving garrison town of Chatham during several wars.

Kye Robinson – “I attended the service at the  RE Garrison church in Brompton and took my my  wife and kids, mother, sister and nephews. While there I bumped in to some rather smart looking chap called Ray Ellis – another Gravesend Sapper.”

 After the service the marching contingent made its way to Brompton barracks for a short service.  Where wreaths were laid at the RE cenotaph.  Afterwards there was a chance for a beer in the pub round the corner….. For some reason it was full of Sappers of all ages young and old.”




Mick Dobson – “I attended Meopham Service of Remembrance and  laid a wreath on behalf of the branch . The service was also attended by local MP Adam Holloway, Gravesham Mayor & Mayoress and   Capt John Mason a serving Sapper Officer – who lost leg in Afghanistan.”

Windmill Hill Gravesend

Windmill Hill Gravesend

Ken Trevor,  ” I attended the Armistice Parade at the Memorial in Windmill Hill Gravesend and laid the wreath on behalf of the Branch. Also in attendance was the Mayor Councillor Harold Craske  and other dignitaries. Branch members Mary,Jamie, Roy our new member Shaun Shand  and Mary and Owen also attended the service.  I also met up with the three soldiers from 1R.S.M.E.”

Basildon Borough Veterans Breakfast Club Remembrance Service.

Ray Ellis, “Two local MPs met up with a group of veterans  on Armistice Day at the Campenile Hotel in Basildon for a hearty breakfast followed by a service of Remembrance.

Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois and South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe joined  with a group of 30 veterans , for the two minutes silence at 11am .

Basildon Sappers

Mr Francois said: “It was a privilege for Stephen and myself to have the chance to share a meal with so many men who have given their time in the service of their country. The veterans were a really jolly bunch and much banter was exchanged.”

For the Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
Source: The London Times (1914)