Remembrance Sunday Service and Parade

Dover War Memorial

Sunday 11 November 2018

 

 

At 11.00am on Sunday 11 November, 100 years on from the signing of the Armistice in 1918, more men, women and children than ever gathered at the People of Dover’s war memorial to honour the memory of all the service men and women who gave their lives in action.

The parade of standards, veterans and other organisations marched to the War Memorial in front of Maison Dieu House where two minutes silence was observed with Civic Leaders. The wreath laying was led by the Deputy Lieutenant of Kent on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and the Town Mayor of Dover, Councillor Susan Jones. The Deputy Mayor of Calais, Dover’s twin town represented his community. Everyone was welcome to lay a wreath including Veteran’s Associations, local organisations and the families of the fallen. The last post was played by Sgt Laura Windley of the Royal Military School of Music (an interview with Sgt Windley can be found here).

Our thanks go to all those who attended our service to honour and remember the fallen including the White Cliffs Branch of the Royal British Legion who set out the Garden of Remembrance and collected for the Poppy Appeal in all weathers over the last two weeks. We are also grateful to the Choir of St Edmund’s School, our bugler Sgt Laura Windley of the Royal Military School of Music, and Cantium Brass for leading the music and also the young people of our Cadet forces who worked as stewards during the service.

The Memorial Service was conducted by the Honorary Chaplain to the Town Mayor, Reverend Dr John Walker. All who were present were very moved by Dr Walker’s address which, with his kind permission, is reproduced here –

 

 We are here today to remember and honour

all those who have suffered and died for the sake and safety of our nation

in conflicts past and present;

but particularly those from Dover and the surrounding district.

 

And we are here today to pray that, in our own time,

conflict at home and overseas

will not rob us of the peace they wrought for us

at the great cost of their sacrifice,

especially on this centenary of the ending of that war

which was meant to be the War that ends all wars, but it was not so.

 

Those of us who have not had our courage tested in combat,

or endured the relentlessness of shells, bombs, bullets and missiles,

or suffered the privations of being Prisoners of War,

or known the tearing grief of loved ones wrenched untimely from us,

stand in awe of those we remember today.

 

And the history of Dover and of Dovorians reminds us

of something true to remember for this, our time.

In every conflict that has touched these British Isles

Dovorians have withstood the first assault,

stayed firm as the first line and launchpad of our defence,

weathered the relentless violence of our enemies

and offered an inspiring example to the men, women and children of our nation

of what it is to have persistence, courage, fortitude, humour and hope,

and of what can be accomplished when we choose to stand together

despite our many differences.

 

And so, alongside the many service men and women

whom we particularly honour with such gratitude today,

giving thanks for all who died on the field of battle,

or endured injuries and trauma too grievous for us to imagine,

or suffered in prisoner of war camps,

or struggled for years with the stark memories of the horrors of war,

we also pay tribute to all those who endured and suffered here at home,

and with good heart gave their strength and determination and courage and hope,

and sometimes their very lives

to protect this town and this nation.

 

And we pray that we, in our time, will not forget

the young men and women who are still dying in war,

or who return with broken bodies and minds

seeking our help and support for their healing.

 

And we pray that we, in our time,

will not forget the example of Dovorians of the past

and that we, in our turn, will use well the freedoms for which they fought.

That we will understand that the enemy today is not another nation or group of nations,

or those who voted differently from us,

or those who have a different ethnic origin, language, political outlook,

sexuality or spirituality than ourselves;

but that the enemy is the intolerance, self-interest and fear of ‘those not like us’

that so often plagues our need to stand together in our day

to fight the evils of ignorance, hatred, poverty, ill-health, brokenness and despair.

 

Let us, like the Dovorians of the past, stand together, then,

to wage war against THIS enemy.

And, as we said in our act of commitment,

let us pledge ourselves anew to the service of God and humanity:

that we will give our strength, determination, courage and hope

to work together across political, social or religious divides

for the good of this proud town of Dover

and for peace within and beyond our nation,

in grateful honour of those we remember,

gladly embracing the opportunities of the present

and in hopeful confidence for the future.

 

Amen

 

 The parade then marched back through the town to the Market Square where the Mayor took the salute at St. Mary’s Church.

 

Later, at 7pm, the Town’s Beacon at Dover Castle was lit as part of the Nationwide Commemoration.

 

 The Mayor, Councillor Sue Jones said

Dover Town Council is the custodian of the Town’s War Memorial, and it was a privilege to stand alongside so many townsfolk, veterans, cadets and other councillors and officers on Sunday to join with the nation to commemorate the end of the Great War and pay our respects to those who fought for their country and never returned.

After the service we walked to the parish Church of St Mary’s and applauded the parade which featured the badges and insignia of all the armed forces. In the evening at Her Majesty the Queen’s request, the Town’s beacon was lit in the grounds of Dover Castle, a symbol of light in the darkness. As a Dovorian and as Mayor, I would like to thank all those who have done so much to honour those who fought for our freedom.

 

Our Picture show the People of Dover’s War Memorial immediately following the Service of Remembrance and Wreath Laying