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
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 .
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.”