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How Norfolk and Waveney are remembering those who fell on centenary of Armistice Day

PUBLISHED: 15:06 11 November 2018 | UPDATED: 06:53 12 November 2018

Pages of the Sea at Brancaster showing sculpture of Driver Stephen Hewitt. Photo: Iain Fraser-Barker

Pages of the Sea at Brancaster showing sculpture of Driver Stephen Hewitt. Photo: Iain Fraser-Barker

Iain Fraser-Barker

Thousands of people across Norfolk and Waveney are paying their respects to those who fought for peace - as the region falls silent to mark the centenary of Armistice Day.

Today marks a hundred years since the First World War, when a conflict which claimed the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians was brought to an end.

At various locations, including Norwich Cathedral, Thetford, Gorleston and Sandringham, events started at 6am when lone pipers played the tune Battle’s O’er as part of a national event Battle’s Over - A Nation’s Tribute.

In Lowestoft, crowds gathered at Ness Point at 6am to pay their respects to all those who lost their lives in battle.

A bagpiper performed Battles O’er to mark the start of the day of remembrance, with fellow pipers following suit across the country.

Armistice Day centenary remembered in Hunstanton. Photo: Chris BishopArmistice Day centenary remembered in Hunstanton. Photo: Chris Bishop

Dozens of spectators gathered for the occasion, including Lowestoft mayor Ian Graham and deputy mayor Peter Knight.

In Norwich, at 10.40am, a service of remembrance and two minute’s silence was held at the war memorial outside City Hall, followed by a veterans and armed forces parade to the Cathedral at 11.05am.

Norwich War Memorial and Memorial Gardens were the centrepiece of an ‘Avenue of Remembrance’, covered with 3,544 of the 15,500 poppies created as part of a community project organised by Norfolk Library Service.

Each poppy represented one of the men from Norwich who fought and died in the First World War, whose names are inscribed on the Roll of Honour, which was moved into City Hall in 2016.

Armistice Day centenary remembered in Hunstanton. Photo: Chris BishopArmistice Day centenary remembered in Hunstanton. Photo: Chris Bishop

The Reverend Edward Carter, vicar of St Peter Mancroft Church, introduced the service, which saw wreaths laid on the war memorial by a number of veterans and dignitaries such as Norwich’s Lord Mayor Martin Schmierer, city council leader Alan Waters and the city’s MPs Clive Lewis and Chloe Smith.

Following the laying of the wreaths, The Last Post was sounded and a two minute silence was impeccably observed before the reveille was played.

Following a blessing, veterans, those serving in the armed forces and cadets made their way through the streets to the cathedral.

Two veterans who were at the service were Patrick Whiley, 78, and Keith Smith, 73, who both live in Norwich and served in the Royal Navy.

Norwich Remembrance Service at the War Memorial outside the City Hall, Norwich. Photo : Steve AdamsNorwich Remembrance Service at the War Memorial outside the City Hall, Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams

Mr Whiley, who served from 1956 until 1968, including on the final Royal Navy battleship HMS Vanguard, said it had been an emotional service marking a hundred years since Armistice.

He said: “It really takes you back to the First World War and all those poor men going out there. They thought it was going to be a walkover and it wasn’t. They gave everything for us. Every year I go across to France and Belgium and pay my respects.

“These services are always very emotional.”

Keith Smith, who was in the Royal Navy from 1960 to 1967, said: “We remember everyone on days like today. Those who fought in the First World War and those who have served since.”

Norfolk and Waveney are remembering those who have fallen in conflict. Picture: Ian BurtNorfolk and Waveney are remembering those who have fallen in conflict. Picture: Ian Burt

At 6pm there will be a candlelit procession from the cathedral to City Hall for a short service including the ringing of the city bells and lighting of a beacon.

A roll of honour reading was played from City Hall balcony. Unfortunately a plan to project poppies onto Norwich Castle as dusk fell was hampered by a technical problem.

Thousands of the Great Yarmouth community gathered at St George’s Park to pay their respects to those who gave up their lives for their country.

The service was also an opportunity for the borough council to unveil a plaque commemorating the four civilians who were killed in the town after air raids.

Armistice Day centenary remembered. Picture: ArchantArmistice Day centenary remembered. Picture: Archant

Samuel Smith and Martha Taylor became the first British civilians to die following aerial bombardment on January 15 1915, while Alfred and Mary Ann Sparks died when a shell hit the roof of their Nelson Road Central home on January 14 1918.

A number of community groups, cadets and local businesses laid wreaths at the towns cenotaph following the service.

In mid-Norfolk, members of The Dereham and District Royal Anglian Regiment Association helped to prepare the town centre.

A parade walked from Cherry Tree Car Park to the war memorial before a Service of Remembrance and the laying of wreaths at the war memorial took place at 11am. The parade, which headed to St Nicholas Church for a service, was applauded as it moved through the market town.

Armistice Day centenary remembered in Dereham. Picture: ArchantArmistice Day centenary remembered in Dereham. Picture: Archant

Flags were also handed out to children and a display was on show in St Nicholas including artefacts, memorabilia and poignant stories from the local area.

Poppies were also placed on lampposts throughout Dereham town centre, and rocks with poppies painted on to them hidden around the town.

In Attleborough, Wymondham, Diss, Harleston, Thetford, Cawston, Cromer, Holt, North Walsham and King’s Lynn hundreds of people have lined the streets to witness Remembrance Day parades and processions.

In villages, towns and parishes, services, silences and wreath-laying ceremonies took place at 11am.

Norwich Remembrance Service at the War Memorial outside the City Hall, Norwich. Photo : Steve AdamsNorwich Remembrance Service at the War Memorial outside the City Hall, Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams

Thousands braved the cold and wet to attend the Remembrance Sunday wreath laying in King’s Lynn Tower Gardens.

Veterans, servicemen and cadets marched into the park from the Town Hall led by a civic procession.

West Norfolk Mayor Nick Daubney read the exhortation: “They shall not grown old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.”

A bugler played the Last Post and the crowd observed two minutes’ silence before the wreaths were laid before the war memorial. After a hymn and prayers led by the Bishop of Lynn, The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick and the parade marched into the minster for, what was a poignant and moving service.

Norwich Remembrance Service outside City Hall. Photo : Steve AdamsNorwich Remembrance Service outside City Hall. Photo : Steve Adams

In Hunstanton, more than 1,000 people gathered in the rain at the war memorial for a service of remembrance

In Great Yarmouth, the town’s Festival of Remembrance will be held in the Hippodrome.

Starting at 4.30pm, the event will culminate in a minute’s silence which will see hundreds of red poppy leaves made by schoolchildren from the Great Yarmouth area cascade from the ceiling of the building.

At Norwich Cathedral, Great Yarmouth Minster and King’s Lynn Minster, people were encouraged by this newspaper to place a wooden-backed poppy in a bid to create a Norfolk-wide field of remembrance to those who sacrificed so much during the First World War.

Norwich Remembrance Service at the War Memorial outside City Hall, Norwich. Photo : Steve AdamsNorwich Remembrance Service at the War Memorial outside City Hall, Norwich. Photo : Steve Adams

Communities in Sprowston, Martham, Marsham, Dilham, Neatishead, Runham, Mundesley also created their own Fields of Remembrance and visual memorials.

And two Norfolk beaches were to join in with a Remembrance Sunday tribute by filmmaker Danny Boyle.

Gorleston Beach and Brancaster Beach were taking part in the Pages of the Sea project, which will see a portrait of an individual from the First World War emerge from the sand, before being washed away.

And, in Costessey, the community aims to recreate an historical photograph taken outside the White Hart pub on Armistice Day in 1918.

As darkness falls, the bells of churches across the county – more than any other in the country – will ring out and beacons of peace will be lit, marking the end of the Battle’s Over tribute.

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