Remembrance events begin in Devizes and Marlborough

This Is Wiltshire: Seven-year-old Owen Bridewell at the garden in front of the war memorial in Devizes with Fred Spanswick, of the RBL, Nigel Tuck from the Wyvern Band, Jeff Matthews of the RBL and Deputy Mayor Jim Gudgeon Seven-year-old Owen Bridewell at the garden in front of the war memorial in Devizes with Fred Spanswick, of the RBL, Nigel Tuck from the Wyvern Band, Jeff Matthews of the RBL and Deputy Mayor Jim Gudgeon

Devizes launched a week of events to commemorate the dead of two world wars on Monday by planting crosses in the garden in front of the war memorial in Long Street.

The traditional event was overseen by the Rev John Goodman, chaplain of the Devizes branch of the Royal British Legion.

Although most of the congregation who attended the event at 11am on Monday were of the older generation, there was one young person there for whom serving in the armed forces is a daily reality.

Seven-year-old Owen Bridewell is missing his father, Michael, who is currently serving with 33 Engineering Squadron of the RAF in Kandahar. Owen said: “I miss dad a lot and wish he would come home soon.” Owen has an older brother, 12-year-old Scott, who was not able to attend Monday’s event.

Their mother, Sarah Bridewell, who is a town councillor, said: “It is very hard on the boys when Michael is away but as a forces family it is something you have to get used to.

“Michael used to be based at RAF Lyneham but when that closed he was transferred to Brize Norton. He has to get up early in the morning to commute there.”

Owen and Scott will be taking part in Sunday’s Remembrance Day parade with the Scouts and Cubs. Many local organisations, including the RBL, cadets, Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies, St John Ambulance, Great Western Ambulance, police and fire officers will take part.

The parade will form up in the Market Place at around 10.30am on Sunday to be reviewed by town mayor Coun Kelvin Nash. It is hoped Coun Nash will be well enough to attend as he had to cry off Monday’s event and his place was taken by deputy mayor Coun Jim Gudgeon.

After the service of remembrance in St John’s Church, Coun Nash will lead the laying of wreaths at the war memorial before the parade marches back to the Market Place with Coun Nash taking the salute at The Chequers garden in St John’s Street.

Devizes School is holding its own Remembrance service tomorrow when pupils will gather in the quadrangle for the ceremony that will begin at 10.30am.

n IN Marlborough every year the number of Second World War veterans taking part in the Remembrance Day parade gets smaller.

Now there are only a handful left and some of those are too infirm to join in the march any longer from the High Street to the War Memorial in New Road.

The parade will assemble in the High Street from 10am and will include a detachment from 4 Military Intelligence Battalion from Bulford, which has the freedom of the town.

At 10.45am the procession, led by the Mayor, Edwina Fogg, and town councillors, followed by Phoenix Brass band, will walk to the war memorial where at 11am ex-Royal Navy officer David Hicks, vice-chairman of Marlborough’s Royal Naval Association, will ring the ship’s bell from the former HMS Marlborough 11 times to announce the start of the two minutes silence.

Royal British Legion president Lt Cdr Mark Simpson will recite the exhortation before the laying of wreaths during which Phoenix band will play Nimrod and pipers from Marlborough College will play the lament Flowers of the Forest.

Following the wreath laying the parade will re-form and march to St Mary’s Church for the service of remembrance led by the Rector, Canon Andrew Studdert-Kennedy.

Pewsey Vale School is once again holding an Armistice Day service tomorrow to which the public are invited as well as students.

The short nondenominational service will conclude with the Act of Remembrance and wreath laying.

Weather permitting, the service will be held outside in the school’s amphitheatre.

Space is limited. There will be no seating and tickets will be required. These are available from the school office by telephoning (01672) 565000.

The school hopes that serving and retired members of the armed forces as well as those who have served on operations alongside the armed forces, will apply for tickets.

Serving personnel are invited to wear uniform and veterans can wear medals.

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